Bangalore: The capital of Karnataka once again faced a terror strike when a bomb exploded near the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office in Malleshwaram on Wednesday morning injuring at least 16 people including 11 police personnel. Two temples are also located near the blast site and at the moment of explosion, several devotees were on their way to the places of worship. Fortunately there were no deaths even as the BJP claimed that its office and leaders were the target of the terror strike.
According to the police, an improvised explosive device (IED) was used in the blast which damaged several vehicles including cars and a bus. Union Home Ministry and Bangalore Police officials said the bomb was placed on a stolen Yamaha motorcycle with a Tamil Nadu license plate. The police are now hunting for the trigger device.
Bangalore Police Commissioner Raghavendra H Auradkar said five civilians were injured, out of whom two were critical. “This was an explosion. Investigations have begun,” he said. The police added that three cars, a bus and two two-wheelers were badly damaged in the explosion.
An eyewitness said, “When I came here, the building was almost collapsing. There was fire everywhere. My mother called to tell me that there”s a huge explosion. Something was planted in the two-wheeler. I first heard the explosion. It could be heard even at 4 km. People were scared.”
Karnataka BJP spokesperson S Prakash said, “The entire building shook, the intensity was high. We are not sure its a cylinder blast or bomb blast.”
Karnataka Home Minister R Ashok said the terrorists had BJP leaders on their radar. “A meeting of the BJP leaders was on at the office. The terrorists have targeted our people. The government will take strict action. We have already informed the central government. We are in constant
touch with authorities. We appeal the people to maintain calm.”
BJP president Rajnath Singh said he had spoken to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar about the incident. “I”ve spoken to the CM to make sure all is well. We never politicise terror activities,” he said.
The blast comes weeks ahead of the crucial Assembly elections in Karnataka which are scheduled to take place on May 5. With Karnataka going to polls, the BJP office, located in a residential locality, is crowded with party workers and others.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Bangalore Police have begun their probe into the blast.
Past terror attacks in Bangalore:
July 25, 2008: 2 killed, 20 injured in a series of blasts; Status of case: Police files additional chargesheet against six accused on June 11, 2010.
April 17, 2010: 15 injured in a bomb explosion outside Chinnaswamy stadium; Status of case: 7 of 14 accused arrested. Prime suspect Yasin Bhatkal still absconding.
Congress leader”s tweet draws ire:
The Congress on Wednesday found itself in a spot after party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad posted a controversial tweet on the Bangalore blast. Ahmad tweeted, “If the blast near BJP”s office in Banglore is a terror attack,it will certainly help the BJP politically on the eve of election.”
Reacting to the tweet, BJP Spokesperson Shahnawaaz Husain said, “This is an unfortunate comment. Congress takes benefits from blasts, we don”t.”
Calling the tweet insensitive, the BJP”s Twitter handle BJP Karnataka tweeted, “Congress Spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad”s tweet on blasts in Bangalore is insensitive and inhumane.”