A 38-year-old woman was killed and three persons were injured after an explosion suspected to have been triggered by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) went off on Sunday night in front of a popular restaurant on Bangalore’s busy Church Street.
The blast occurred around 8.30 pm on a footpath adjacent to Coconut Grove. Church Street is close to Bangalore’s Brigade Road, which is dotted with bars and restaurants that are teeming with people on weekends.
Spoke to Karnataka CM Shri S Siddaramaiah regarding the Bangalore blasts. He apprised me of the situation. Centre ready to provide all help.
One low intensity blast on Church Street. 2 injured, 1 serious. All requested to be alert & inform 100 if any unintended object found.
— M N Reddi, IPS (@CPBlr) December 28, 2014
Initial investigations indicate it may have been a pipe bomb, packed with shrapnel in the form of iron pieces. Battery of a timer has been found. The bomb was wrapped first in a cloth, and then in a Telugu newspaper. The explosion left an eight-inch crater in the ground.
All the three victims were hit by shrapnel, City Police Commissioner M N Reddi told reporters. Bhawani, who belonged to Tamil Nadu and was visiting the city, was struck in the head and body and died of excessive bleeding.
One of the injured man was said to be her relative Karthik, who is also serious. The two were walking on the street after leaving a nearby restaurant. The two other victims have minor injuries. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast so far.
Police have cordoned off the area, taken records from mobile towers in the vicinity to trace phones active in the region at the time of the blast, and are collecting CCTV footage for entire Church Street. The city has been put on alert and additional forces sought from the Karnataka State Reserve Police.
@CPBlr Please donot panic and do not believe rumours. Call 100 incase of any doubt. BC Police has secured the area & investigation is on.
— Abhishek Goyal (@goyal_abhei) December 28, 2014
Internal security division experts along with a forensic team, dog squad and anti-sabotage check teams are at the spot. A central team is expected to visit Bangalore Monday.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh called up Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and assured him of all help from the Centre. “He apprised me of the situation,” Singh tweeted. He also said the Central government was ready to deal with any such incident.
“As per current information, IED was used and it was a low-intensity bomb. Some shrapnel hit the individuals who were injured,” Reddi said. “On Church Street, people gather for weekends. Further there were tourists on account of Christmas and New Year. That’s why the perpetrators might have targeted the area.”
An autodriver who witnessed the blast said he initially thought some revellers were bursting crackers. Asked if there was any threat perception to the city, Reddi said, “There has been threat perception in general, in view of the fact that there are festivities, in view of the fact that New Year’s eve is coming…”
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis talked to top police officials in the state and Union Home Ministry officials late Sunday night. Security has been beefed up in Mumbai.
Speaking to reporters in Delhi late on Sunday night, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the situation in Bangalore was under control, and that it was too early to say who may have been responsible for the blast. “We are looking at all possible angles,” he said.
The minister added that the Central government would provide whatever help the Karnataka government seeks from it to deal with the situation. On any alert being sounded, Rijiju said there was a general alert all over the country against possible terror attacks but specific alert for any particular place or city is given only on the basis of specific inputs.
Bangalore has seen blasts earlier in 2008, 2010 and 2013. In the 2008 blasts at nine places, also by IED, two persons were killed and 20 injured. In 2010, two bombs had exploded outside a cricket stadium hours before an IPL match, leaving 15 persons injured.
In 2013, there had been a bomb blast outside the state BJP headquarters in the crowded Malleshwaram area just ahead of the Assembly polls, leaving 16 persons injured.
(With PTI inputs)