Bangalore: Terror struck Bangalore on Wednesday ahead of the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections when a low-intensity bomb exploded near the bustling BJP city office in a busy residential area injuring at least 16 people, including 11 policemen.
The bomb, apparently strapped to a motorbike with a Tamil Nadu registration plate parked between a van and a car, went off around 10.30 AM about 100 metres diagonally opposite BJP office in Malleshwaram.
Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister R Ashoka said the attack was an act of "terror."
"It is a very clear act of terror... It is targeted at the BJP, our senior leaders and workers", he told reporters at the spot. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast--the fourth terror strike in Bangalore.
City Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar said a motorbike with an "incendiary bomb" was used in the blast in India`s Information Technology(IT) capital that coincided with the third anniversary of low intensity explosions near the Chinnaswamy stadium here ahead of an IPL match in which several people were injured.
Government sources in New Delhi said the bombing was indeed a "terror attack" and the city was lucky to have escaped a major tragedy since a huge crowd was milling around the BJP office till yesterday with party tickets being distributed till last evening. Elections are scheduled on May 5 and today was the last day for filing of nominations.
Banned terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM), responsible for bombings in different parts of the country, was suspected to be behind the blast.
"It is too early to point fingers at any group but needle of suspicion is pointing towards IM," the sources said.
Sixteen persons were injured -- 11 policemen and five civilians, including three women -- in the blast targeted at BJP workers and its leaders, Ashoka said. The injured persons were stated to be "out of danger." Two of the injured were college students returning home after tuition.
The blast triggered a loud bang and shattered window panes of some nearby buildings, prompting people to flee in panic. Jagannath Bhavan, the office of the ruling BJP was teeming with activity at the time of explosion.
58-year-old Kunjappa, an injured KSRP Sub-Inspector, said "the sound was such, I felt my head would split into two. While I saw flames rising from the two vehicles, the bike was in pieces".
A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team from Hyderabad is conducting investigations at the blast site.