Blast outside Bangalore BJP office leaves 16 injured; probe ordered

BANGALORE: The blast near the BJP office in Bangalore Wednesday is the fourth terror strike in the Karnataka capital. The blast, which left 16 people injured -- two seriously, took place exactly three years after the twin explosions at Chinnaswamy Stadium in the city centre, ahead of an Indian Premier League T20 cricket match, which left 15 injured.

"A bomb-like material on a motorbike exploded around 10.30 a.m. injuring 16 people, including 11 policemen, near the BJP office at Malleswaram in north-west Bangalore," state Director-General of Police (DGP) Lalrokhuma Pachau told reporters here.

Rushing to the blast spot, Ashok said the fact that it (explosion) occurred so near to the BJP office clearly indicated that the terrorists wanted to cause maximum damage to its leaders and cadres, besides spreading panic ahead of the state legislative assembly elections May 5.

"As a lot of political activity has been going on since the poll schedule was announced last month, hundreds of our cadres and leaders have been visiting the party office daily and hence they were the target of this terror attack," Ashok told reporters.

Among the five civilians injured, three were women and two teenagers.

"The injuries are not so serious and no one is in critical condition. They are being treated in a nearby (state-run) hospital," Pachau asserted.

The motorcycle was parked between two cars. The blast ripped through the motorcycle and gutted both the vehicles parked near it. There was a loud explosion that rattled doors and windows of surrounding houses.

5:40 pm: Police cordoned off the entire blast area for study and tests by the state bomb squad, forensic experts and the state-run National Investigation Agency. The injured policemen were seated in a mini bus parked nearby as they were on security duty for the upcoming election.

5:20 pm:

The motorcycle was parked between two cars. The blast ripped through the motorcycle and gutted both the vehicles parked near it. There was a loud explosion that rattled doors and windows of surrounding houses.

5:05 pm:

"We do not know the type of bomb that was used. The matter is under investigation. NIA and forensic experts are studying the three charred vehicles and other burnt-out material to find what sort of bomb or materials were used to trigger the blast," Pachau said.

4:50 pm:

"A bomb-like material on a motorbike exploded around 10.30 am injuring 16 people, including 11 policemen, near the BJP office at Malleswaram in north-west Bangalore," state Director-General of Police (DGP) Lalrokhuma Pachau told reporters.

4:40 pm:
Terming the blast in Bangalore as unfortunate, BJP leader Rajnath Singh said that the terror act might have been carried out by a sleeper cell and blamed the centre for lack of effort to fight terror.

4:30 pm:

Security has been beefed up across Gujarat in the wake the blast today.

4:20 pm:
Shakeel Ahmad kicked up a storm with his remark that the blast near the BJP's office in Bangalore would help the party in the Karnataka polls.

4:00 pm:

Any terror incident is a matter of concern and should not be seen as political gain, Congress general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said.

3:40 pm:
The Ministry of Home Affairs sources confirm that the Bangalore blast was a terror attack. However it's too early to speculate on the terror group behind the attack, the sources add.

3:20 pm: Reacting to Shakeel Ahmad's remark, BJP Spokesperson Shahnawaaz Husain retorted by saying, "This is an unfortunate comment. Congress takes benefits from blasts we don't."

3:10 pm:
"I have ordered an inquiry. The secretary home department will look into it," Shinde said.

3:05 pm:

Sushil Kumar Shinde said an enquiry has been ordered to investigate the blasts. He said, "Have constituted an enquiry into the Bangalore blast under the Special Secretary of Home department. I will have interaction with the Karnataka government and the police."

3:00 pm:
The Congress said it never plays politics in dealing with terrorism and urged all parties not to politicise the issue.

2:55 pm:
Karnataka's Home Minister R Ashok, while alleging that the BJP workers were the target of the blast, said the explosion outside the BJP office was a "terrorist activity".

2:50 pm:
Police say that the blast happened when party state president, Chief Minister and national leaders could have been present in the office.

2:47 pm: Police have confirmed that the bomb was placed in a bike having Tamil Nadu registration number.

2:45 pm:
The BJP office was full with party workers since today is the last day of filing of nominations for the assembly polls.

2:40 pm:
IBN-Live report says that 11 policemen were injured in the blast

2:35 pm:
Minister of State for Home RPN Singh appealed for peace following the blast that took place outside the Bharatiya Janata Party office in Bangalore, and assured the Karnataka Police of all assistance from the Home Ministry.

2:32 pm:

The remark on Twitter by the Congress Member of Parliament from Bihar on the blast in Bangalore that has left 16 people badly injured was condemned by the Bharatiya Janata Party which called it ‘insensitive and inhumane’.

2:30 pm: Congress spokesperson’s tweet sparks off row: A major controversy has been sparked off after Shakeel Ahmad, Congress spokesperson and also a former MOS Home, tweeted that 'If the blast near BJP's office in Bangalore is a terror attack, it will certainly help the BJP politically on the eve of election.'

2:28 pm:

Police also said that almost 500 gm of explosives was used in first blast outside the BJP office in Malleshwaram. A National Security Guards team has already been rushed to Bangalore.

2:27 pm:

Second blast not confirmed: Meanwhile, the Bangalore police said that the report of a second blast near the Hebbal flyover in the city has not been confirmed.

2:25 pm:
The Home Ministry rushed a team of NIA to the Bangalore blast site and offered all help to the government in its investigation.

2:23 pm:
The two seriously injured are women, one of whom has a suffered fracture in her leg, doctors at the KC General hospital, about five kilometres from the explosion site, said.

2:21 pm: "The explosion took place around 10.20 a.m. and investigation is on to find out whether it is caused by a bomb as a motorbike was found at the site," Bangalore Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar said.

2:20 pm: Of the 16 injured, 11 are police personnel and five are civilians, including three women, Home Minister R. Ashoka said at the explosion site.

2:18 pm: Several vehicles were gutted but there was no damage to the party office in the explosion that was initially believed to be a cylinder blast.

2:15 pm: Residents in the area told reporters that the blast shook the windowpanes of several houses.

2:13 pm: Cars parked at the office in the Malleswaram area of Bangalore, a crowded residential neighbourhood, were gutted in the blast.

2:10 pm: Television footage showed several cars and two-wheelers at the blast site were badly damaged. Initial reports suggested that a gas cylinder had exploded but a police officer later told reporters an explosive was most likely placed on a motorcycle.

Initial reports suggested that the blast could be due to a gas cylinder explosion in a car parked in the area.

However, the local police later confirmed that bombs were placed on a motorcycle. According to sources, IED was used to trigger the blasts.

A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team reached the blast site. The area of the blasts has been cordoned off by the police.

According to reports, 16 people including eight police officials have been injured in the blast.  The injured have been rushed to a nearby hospital. Two people have sustained serious injuries.

A team of forensic experts and a bomb squad have rushed to the spot to ascertain the nature of the blast.