The bustle resumes in Hyderabad's old city
May 21, 2007 - 2:59:39 PM

Hyderabad, May 21 - Life returned to normal in the old quarters of Hyderabad Monday, three days after a blast at the historic Mecca Masjid killed 11 people.

The bustle resumed in the commercial hub around the mosque and Charminar, the famous monument that is a symbol of this 400-year-old city. Shops in the centuries-old markets selling bangles, bridal wear and pearls re-opened and buses of the state-owned Road Transport Corporation and private vehicles returned to the roads.

Police and paramilitary forces continued to be deployed in communally sensitive area as a precautionary measure. Police Commissioner Balwinder Singh said the forces would remain for another four to five days.

No untoward incident has been reported since Saturday, when a complete shutdown was observed to protest the blast and the police firing.

Police have stepped up efforts to identity the perpetrators of Friday's blast, which claimed 16 lives, including five killed in police firing. A 12-member team led by Joint Commissioner of Police Harish Kumar Gupta has been set up to probe the blast.

A person has been reportedly picked up in West Bengal in connection with the SIM card used in the cell phone found attached to the unexploded bomb. The SIM card was bought in Roop Narayanpur town in Dumka district of Jharkhand state in eastern India.

Police sources said the needle of suspicion pointed to Mohammed Shahid alias Bilal, a native of Moosarambagh area of Hyderabad who is also believed to be the mastermind in the suicide attack on the office of the police commissioner's Task Force here in October 2005.

One policeman was killed in that attack, the first suicide attack in Andhra Pradesh.

Investigators are also examining another cell phone and pieces of a remote retrieved from the water tank in the mosque. This phone is similar to the one found attached to the unexploded bomb.

Police are trying to find out why the second bomb planted near the main gate of the mosque failed to trigger. Sources said the poor mobile connection network in the area could have prevented the second blast.

Four ministers, several top police officials and hundreds of worshippers passed through the main gate before the bomb was found and defused. Earlier, a bomb was found and defused 100 meters from the scene of the first blast.

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