Reddy promises CBI probe as Patil visits blast site


Hyderabad : Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Saturday said he was ready to order a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into Friday's blast at the historic Mecca Masjid and the subsequent police firing, which claimed a total of 14 lives.

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The chief minister said this when he and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil faced irate protestors at the mosque. Patil is likely to make an announcement later at a news conference.

Patil, who arrived from Delhi this morning, rushed to the blast site along with the chief minister, state home minister K. Jana Reddy and other senior officials.

As they reached the mosque, leaders and activists of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) shouted slogans and demanded CBI inquiry into both the bomb blast and the police firing.

The police firing, which claimed four lives, has angered the people with MIM alleging that the firing was unprovoked and even those trying to shift the injured were shot.

Patil later left for Nizam's Institute of Medical Science (NIMS) to call on the injured.

Earlier, the main opposition Telugu Desam Party president and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu visited the blast site and called on the injured at a hospital.

Alleging that the state government failed to take precautions despite warning from Union Home Ministry and central intelligence agencies, Naidu demanded a CBI probe into the blast.

Naidu also condemned the police firing on protestors. "The police should have acted with restraint but it is very unfortunate that they opened fire without using alternative measures to control the situation."

He announced that TDP would give Rs.100,000 to the kin of those killed and Rs.10,000 to each of the injured.

The state government has already announced a compensation of Rs.500,000 to the families of those killed and Rs.20,000 for the injured.