The bombs exploded minutes apart in a crowded shopping area in the southern city of Hyderabad - one of them near a cinema and one near a bus station. The blasts shattered storefronts, scattered food and plates from roadside restaurants and left tangles of dead bodies. Passersby rushed the wounded to hospitals.

"This is a dastardly attack; the guilty will not go unpunished," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said. He appealed to the public to remain calm.

India has been in a state of alert since Mohammed Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri, was hanged in a New Delhi jail nearly two weeks ago after being convicted of involvement in a 2001 attack on India's Parliament. The assault killed 14 people, including five of the gunmen.

Many in Indian-ruled Kashmir believe Guru did not receive a fair trial, and the secrecy with which the execution was carried out fueled anger in a region where anti-India sentiment runs deep.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said there was a general alert about the possibility of an attack somewhere in India for the past three days. "But there was no specific intelligence about a particular place," he said.