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Bombings kill dozens in India

Officials say two blasts in the southern city claim the lives of 30 and injure 50 others.

HYDERABAD, India — A pair of bombings tore through crowded public areas in the southern city of Hyderabad on Saturday night, killing at least 30 people and wounding about 50 people, officials said.

Security forces were put on alert across the city, which has long been plagued by Hindu-Muslim tensions and occasional violence between the two communities.

“This is a terrorist act,” Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, the chief minister for Andhra Pradesh state, told reporters.

The blasts — one in a park during a laser show, and the other in a crowded restaurant — went off minutes apart, officials said.

K. Jana Reddy, the state’s home minister, said at least 30 people had been killed — at least 24 in a popular family restaurant, Gokul Chat, in the city’s Kothi market, and at least six more at the laser show in Lumbini park.

About 50 people were injured, he said.

Both spots are popular with both Hindus and Muslims.

“We heard the blast and people started running out past us. Many of them had blood streaming off them,” said P.K. Verghese, the security manager at the laser show. “It was complete chaos. We had to remove the security barriers so people could get out.”

Television footage from the restaurant showed tin plates filled with blood and rainwater lying on the floor after the blast, amid the scattered belongings of victims.

Footage taken in the arena where the laser show was held showed large pools of blood and dead bodies lying between rows of seats punctured by shrapnel.

Police officers with flashlights and sniffer dogs were searching under chairs looking for more explosive devices.

Hyderabad, a city of 7 million people — about 40 percent of them Muslim — has long been plagued by Hindu-Muslim tensions and occasional violence.

In May, a bomb at a historic Hyderabad mosque killed 11 people. Another five people died in clashes that erupted after that blast between security forces and Muslim protesters angered by what they said was a lack of police protection.

A series of terrorist bombings have ripped across India in the past two years. In July 2006, bombs in seven Mumbai commuter trains killed more than 200 people. Those bombings have been blamed on Pakistan-based Muslim militants.

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