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Militants blamed for India bombings

  • Story Highlights
  • Explosions strike Hyderabad park and snack shop, killing at least 44
  • Local officials blame blasts on Pakistani, Bangladeshi militants
  • India's home secretary declines to comment on who was responsible
  • Authorities find explosives at 16 other locations in and near the city
  • Next Article in World »
From Tess Eastment and Shwetal Kamlapurkar
For CNN and CNN-IBN
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NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- A top Indian official Sunday refused to comment on claims that Islamic militants were responsible for attacks in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad that killed at least 44 people.

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A victim of one of the blasts is taken to a hospital in Hyderabad.

"These are things that will not be openly discussed ... we can comment when the investigation is complete," Home Secretary Shivraj Patil said at a news conference in Hyderabad.

In earlier news conferences, local officials placed the blame squarely on Islamic militants.

"Available information points to Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups being behind the blasts," Y.S.R. Reddy, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh state told reporters. The minister earlier said "this is definitely terrorist activity," and urged everyone to stay calm.

One explosion, suspected to have been a bomb, occurred as a laser music show was to begin at an outdoor auditorium in Lumbini Park after 7:30 p.m. (10 a.m. ET).

About 500 people were in the audience when the blast ripped through the middle row of seats, killing 10 people, including five college-age students, Reddy said.

"It was a high-intensity blast," said Asaduddin Owaisi, an Andhra Pradesh state lawmaker from Hyderabad. He said it caused carnage at the park.

Video on CNN-IBN showed one or two bodies slumped amid theater seats at the park's amphitheater, and blood spattered on seats and pooled on a tile floor.

A second blast happened five minutes later, 8 kilometers (about 5 miles) away at a snack shop in Kothi market -- a commercial area with large crowds. At least 34 people were killed, hospital officials said Sunday.

Authorities believe a gas cylinder may have exploded at the shop.

Hospital officials said they were treating more than 100 people who were wounded in the blasts - some severely - but the carnage could have been worse. Video Watch footage of the aftermath of the bombings »

Authorities also found explosives at 16 other locations in and near the city -- one of India's biggest, Reddy said. Early Sunday those unexploded devices were sent to forensic labs for examination, police sources said.

The chief minister announced Sunday the government was offering a $500 compensation fee and free medical care to those injured in the blasts. In addition, $12,000 would be given to the families of those killed, as well as government jobs.

Security has been beefed up at the airport and railroads after police said the almost simultaneous blasts were coordinated attacks and forensic investigators were working to pin down exactly what kind of explosives were used.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued a statement expressing deep concern over the violence.

India is no stranger to terror bombings, and memories of another deadly blast are still fresh in Hyderabad.

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In May, several people were killed in an explosion in a packed mosque in the southern city at the close of Friday prayers. Thousands of worshippers were inside Mecca Masjid -- considered one of the largest mosques in Asia -- at the time.

In July 2006 more than 200 people were killed by bombs set off in seven Mumbai, formerly Bombay, commuter trains. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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