16 injured in bomb blast near BJP office

Bangalore: In a terror strike, at least 16 people, including 11 policemen, were injured today in a bomb blast apparently targeting the Karnataka BJP city office buzzing with activity ahead of the May five Assembly polls.

The "incendiary bomb" planted in a motorbike parked between a van and a car went off around 10.30 AM, causing injuries to policemen on security duty as part of the bandobast arrangements for the polls.

Five civilians, including three women, were also injured in the blast, which was described as a "clear act of terror" by Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister R Ashok, saying it was targeted at the party workers and its leaders.

"It is a very clear act of terror… It is targeted at the BJP, our senior leaders and workers", Ashoka said. "100 per cent, it is targeted at BJP workers".

He said the injured persons were "out of danger."

The window panes of some buildings were shattered under the impact of the blast with a loud noise heard a long distance away, according to police and eyewitnesses.

He said since it was the election time, party leaders and thousands of workers visit the party office "Jagannath Bhavan".

Ashoka said only an investigation would reveal the terror group involved and added that the state government was in constant touch with the Centre. Significantly, he said the blast had occurred on April 17, the same date when blasts near the Chinnaswamy Stadium in 2010 had left several persons injured.

State DGP Lalrokhuma Pachau said, "Nobody is critically injured. All are being treated at hospital."

A National Investigative Agency team has arrived here, he said.

"As of now, we do not know what is the material of the bomb blast. We will know after examination," he said.

The BJP office is overflowing with party workers since the past few weeks with state and national leaders frequenting it. Today is the last date for filing of nominations and more rush was expected.

City Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar, citing preliminary investigation, said, "It is an explosion", adding a motorbike with an "incendiary bomb" was used.

The state BJP said the police had confirmed that the bomb was placed in the bike bearing Tamil Nadu registration number.

It said it had happened when party state president, Chief Minister and national leaders could have been present considering the Assembly polls.

Describing the dastardly blast as an attempt to weaken the party's morale, BJP said that its workers need not fear or be cowed down by it.

According to them, police personnel were injured as they rushed out of their vehicle parked nearby the party office on seeing the vehicles going up in flames.

Two of the injured were college students who were returning home after tuition, Shivamurthy, an eye witness, said, adding BJP workers shifted some injured to hospital.