December 29, 2005
Terror struck an international conference at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) campus on Wednesday night killing a retired Mathematics professor from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, M.C. Puri, and seriously injuring four others including one of the inventors of the Simputer, Prof Vijay Chandru from IISc.
The attack was, according to eyewitness accounts, carried out by a lone gunman who wielded an AK-47 and threw hand grenades. The attacker was driven away in a white Ambassador car immediately after the attack, eyewitnesses said.
All major cities in south India have been put on high alert after the incident.
The other injured persons have been identified as Dr Pankaj Gupta from Delhi, P Patel, a lab assistant at the Cadila Lab in the IISc campus, and a woman identified only as Sonia, an assistant professor at IIM, Lucknow.
‘‘All the injured have been ruled to be out of danger,’’ Additional Commissioner of Police H C Kishore Chandra said.
Delegates at the International Conference on Operations Research Applications in Infrastructure Development and the 38th Annual convention of Operation Research Society of India (ORSI) were proceeding from IISc’s National Science Seminar Complex to the Satish Dhawan auditorium for an AGM of the ORSI at around 7:30 p.m. when the attack took place.
‘‘We had finished the final programme for the day, a felicitation, and a few of us were walking to the next building when we heard sounds like the heavy use of firecrackers. Some one was throwing crude bombs and shooting randomly in the walkway between the buildings,’’ said Prof S Sadagopan, director of the IIIT, Bangalore and one of the local organizers of the event.
‘‘I was one of the first to reach the Satish Dhawan auditorium after the felicitation. I was going through some papers when I thought I heard firecrackers. I came out to find delegates who were walking towards the hall running helter-skelter,’’ said M Nagaraj Rao, chairman of the organizing committee for the conference.
The attacker dumped his weapon in the campus before fleeing from the campus. Prof Puri was declared dead at the M S Ramaiah Hospital here. Prof Vijay Chandru has taken three bullet hits, hospital officials said.
The conference with over 300 delegates, including 36 foreigners, in attendance was into its third day. The conference brought together operations research/management science practitioners, scientists, engineers, academicians and policy-makers in the government.
While the Union Home Secretary convened a emergency meeting at North Block, internal security agencies said that they had warned the government about possible attacks in Bangalore.
‘‘We don’t know who is responsible for the attack. We have ruled out any link between the attack and Abu Salem’s presence in Bangalore,’’ DGP B S Sial said.
Following the attack, the Bangalore police imposed a nakabandhi in the city and were screening all vehicles.
‘‘There were no security alerts issued to us. In the past when we have received alerts. We have intensified security on the campus,’’ said IISc director Prof P Balaram.
SIXTY SECONDS OF MAYHEM
|1. 7.15 pm: After seminar at J N Tatar auditorium, opposite main IISc campus, delegates move to Satish Dhawan (CSIC) auditorium, 100 metres away, for a meeting|
|2. 7.20 pm: Gun-wielding man emerges from wooded parking area between two buildings, throws grenades|
|3. 7.20 pm: He then starts firing indiscriminately from suspected automatic weapon|
4. 7.21 pm: Gunman dumps weapon near a tree, jumps into waiting white car and disappears
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