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Blast in India's high-tech capital, Bangalore, wounds 16

April 17, 2013|By Mark Magnier
  • Police and forensic experts inspect the site of a bomb blast near a Bharatiya Janata Party office in Bangalore, India.
Police and forensic experts inspect the site of a bomb blast near a Bharatiya… (Jagadeesh Nv / EPA )

NEW DELHI, India -- An explosion Wednesday near the office of a political party in the high-tech capital of Bangalore wounded 16 people, including eight police officers, officials said.

Early evidence suggests that a low-intensity bomb of the type often used in roadside attacks was placed in a motorcycle that was parked near a temple about 300 feet from an office of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, authorities said.

Police made up a disproportionate share of the injured because they had been guarding the political office when the explosion happened around 10:45 a.m. local time. The blast also damaged two vans, a police vehicle and a motorbike, officials said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party runs the government in southern Karnataka state, of which Bangalore is the capital, but the BJP is an opposition party on the national stage. State assembly elections are scheduled for May 5.

Bangalore police said most of the injuries from the blast were not serious. Junior Home Minister R.P.N. Singh in New Delhi urged people not to spread rumors until a proper investigation was completed.

"We appeal to everyone that peace should be maintained," he said, adding that terrorism was a global scourge as evidenced by Monday's bombing during the Boston Marathon.

Some analysts said a reported link between the blast and local politics should be treated warily. "I don’t see any political election connection here," said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute of Conflict Management in New Delhi. "It’s too early to speculate. Right now anyone could be behind the Bangalore attack."

No group or individual took immediate responsibility for the attack.

Video from the scene shortly after the blast showed cars destroyed, window panes shattered, glasses strewn across the road and a large fire from one of the vehicles. Nearby, forensic experts collected objects from the area as a crowd gathered to gawk.

In February, 17 people died and more than 100 were wounded in the city of Hyderabad when twin bombs planted on bicycles about 500 feet apart exploded near a crowded market. That had been the first major bomb attack since September 2011, when a blast outside Delhi's High Court killed 13 people.

Bangalore, known as India's technology hub, and its nearby suburbs house many top software companies and research facilities. In 2008, nine bomb explosions rocked the city, killing two people and wounding more than 20. In 2010, two bombs exploded in a crowded cricket stadium, injuring 15 people. 

"It is our good fortune that no one died," Sahni said. "This can’t be defined as an act to merely scare people because this attack was intended to cause damage and injuries."

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mark.magnier@latimes.com

Tanvi Sharma in the New Delhi bureau contributed to this report.

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