Shubhadeep Choudhury, Tribune News Service
Bangalore, April 17. At least 16 persons, including 11 policemen, were injured in a bomb blast near the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s state office in the Malleswaram area of the city today. The blast later triggered a mudslinging fest among politicians in the poll-bound Karnataka.
Police personnel bore the brunt of the blast triggered by an IED mounted on a two-wheeler. Five civilians, including three women and two teenagers, were among the injured.
Fire tenders rushed to the scene to douse the fire and the police combed the area with sniffer dogs. National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials and forensic teams were also present at the scene to look for clues.
The explosion comes on the anniversary of a series of blasts outside the Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium in 2010 that forced the shifting of IPL matches from Bangalore to Mumbai.
Describing the blast as a “clear act of terror”, Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister R Ashok said it was targeted at the party workers and its leaders.
“It is a clear act of terror… It is targeted at the BJP, our senior leaders and workers,” Ashoka said.
“State and central-level leaders keep coming to the party office for meetings in connection with the Assembly elections. The bomb was meant for them,” he said.
Ashok said the date of the blast coincided with the Chinnaswamy Stadium blasts three years ago. The police would study this angle too during its investigations, he added.
Congress leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah said the blast could be the handiwork of the BJP to attract the sympathy of voters. This charge was furiously refuted by Bangalore (South) MP and former union minister Anantha Kumar and other BJP functionaries.
“A bomb-like material on a motorbike exploded around 10.30 am, injuring 16 persons, including 11 policemen, near the BJP office at Malleswaram,” state DGP Lalrokhuma Pachau said.
“The injuries are not serious. The injured are being treated in a nearby government hospital,” Pachau added.
“We do not know the type of material or bomb used in the blast. It is under investigation. The NIA and forensic experts are examining the charred vehicles,” he said.
The motorcycle suspected to have been used in the blast bore a Tamil Nadu registration number and was parked between two cars. The explosion ripped through the two-wheeler and charred both cars. The explosion also shattered the windowpanes of houses in the vicinity.
BJP spokesperson Prakash, who was at the party office when the bomb went off, said they heard a loud noise. No senior leader of the BJP was in the office at the time of the blast, he added.
The BJP used the incident to target the Election Commission of India, which had transferred senior police officers, including the police commissioner, of the city recently.