Bangalore blast site: Burnt vehicles and scared residents

Bangalore, April 17 (IANS) A deafening blast that shattered window panes of several houses and trigerred fire and smoke outside – all in a flash – left residents of one of Bangalore’s popular tree-lined residential areas scared Wednesday morning.

“We heard a very loud sound. Our window panes broke and some vessels on the kitchen shelf fell down,” said S. Shantha, resident of an apartment block near the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office in Malleshwaram in north Bangalore where the blast took place.

“We were in our vehicle when we heard a loud blast. Soon our van was filled with smoke and we also noticed that it had caught fire,” said Jayanna, a policeman who was in a police van along with over 20 others on guard duty at the BJP office.

Residents of Malleshwaram, the policemen and passersby initially thought that a gas cylinder in one of the vehicles might have exploded as many people in the city use LPG (liquid petroleum gas) cylinders to power their vehicles.

The area is so known for being quiet that residents did not suspect a bomb could have exploded till they saw TV channels reporting that it could be a terror act.

“It is difficult to believe that a terror act would take place in this residential area,” said Shantha, though Bangalore’s first known terror attack had taken place at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), about 5 km north of the blast site abutting Malleshwaram area, in 2005.

Along with the police vehicle at least two cars and two two-wheelers were gutted while parts of a motorbike, in which the suspected explosive device might have been kept, were strewn around the site.

Police, citing eyewitnesses, said that the motorbike with a Tamil Nadu registration number-plate was parked between two cars, close to the police van.

The BJP office was not crowded as Wednesday was the last date for filing of nomination papers for the May 5 assembly polls. Those who have already filed the papers were busy with their poll campaign and others were completing the nomination formalities.

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