August 25, 2007

India: Twin Bomb Blasts Rock Hyderabad

Source: Stratfor
Stratfor's Free Intelligence Reports

India: Twin Bomb Blasts Rock Hyderabad
August 25, 2007 16 30 GMT

Twin bomb explosions occurred late Aug. 25 in Hyderabad in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, killing nine people and injuring 60. The first bomb exploded in Lumbini Park, near the state secretariat, around 9 p.m. local time during a laser show where many people were gathered. The second explosion took place at popular outdoor eatery Gokul Chat Bhandar about 15 minutes later.

Stratfor expected Kashmiri Islamist militants to stage an attack this quarter. The cities of Hyderabad and Bangalore, where India's high-tech hubs are located and where Kashmiri militant cells are spreading, were high on the target list. Though these bombings do not appear to be a direct hit against the IT sector (the park and restaurant are far from Hitech City in the suburbs where all the companies are located), they reveal the militant groups' interest in increasing operations in these key cities. Lumbini Park, which is a theme park near Hussein Sagar Lake, is mostly thronged by the city's more affluent business crowd (people who can actually afford the ticket fees). The Gokul Chat eatery, which is famous for its food, is located in a crowded, posh market area.

The last major attack in Hyderabad occurred May 18 when Kashmiri militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, working with the Student Islamic Movement of India, bombed the Mecca Mosque. That attack -- reminiscent of jihadist tactics in Iraq -- revealed a strategy by these groups to strike at Muslim targets in order to incite communal riots between Hindus and Muslims. However, Hyderabad's Muslim community failed to take the bait and instead turned increasingly hostile toward these militant groups, further threatening their support base.

Stratfor forecast the failure of these groups to reignite Hindu-Muslim tensions by targeting sensitive Muslim religious targets. The return to soft targets in the Aug. 24 attack in the park and local eatery might be a reflection of the groups' acknowledgement that a shift in targeting selection is needed. With this in mind, the IT sector faces a serious threat, since the militant groups will likely focus more on a strategic target set that could have a real impact on India's economic lifeline. As an Aug. 21 threat against IT companies in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, Punjab, revealed, IT companies "off the beaten path" in India are also vulnerable, since the perceived threat is lower in these areas and security forces are not as well-equipped or vigilant as they are in the IT hubs of Bangalore and Hyderabad.

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1 comment:

Ravi Kumar said...

Its a gut wrenching act of terrorism. I wrote about it in my blog from Times of India long back. Every Indian should read: Hyderabad blasts: Thank God it wasn't me!