Serial blasts rock India’s tech capital

Serial blasts rock India’s tech capital
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First Published: Sat, Jul 26 2008. 12 00 AM IST

Rude jolt: Police search a park in Bangalore’s Raja Rammohan Roy road, the site of one of the blasts that sent shock waves across the city.
Rude jolt: Police search a park in Bangalore’s Raja Rammohan Roy road, the site of one of the blasts that sent shock waves across the city.
Updated: Sat, Jul 26 2008. 12 00 AM IST
Bangalore: Nine separate explosions rocked Bangalore on Friday afternoon, killing at least one person in India’s main technology hub.
The low-intensity blasts, including one in Madivala, located on the information technology corridor leading to Electronics City, were part of a plot to disrupt peace in the capital of Karnataka, said state chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, without offering any specific details of the plot.
Rude jolt: Police search a park in Bangalore’s Raja Rammohan Roy road, the site of one of the blasts that sent shock waves across the city.
Most Bangalore-based technology firms, including Infosys Technologies Ltd and Wipro Ltd, India’s second and third biggest software exporters, respectively, have campuses in Electronics City.
“They (the blasts) were triggered by crudely assembled explosives,” said Shankar M. Bidari, the city’s police commissioner. Forensic experts suspect the explosive devices contained chemicals such as ammonium sulphate and urea, packed with nuts and bolts, and fitted with a timer.
One person died in the blasts, said state home minister V.S. Acharya, though India’s home minister Shivraj Patil said in New Delhi that two people had died. Local police said some 15 were injured and PTI pegged the number of blasts at nine.
The explosions triggered panic that caused workers at technology firms and other offices to rush home and shops and businesses near blast sites to down their shutters. Cellular and landline phone networks were clogged.
A Wipro spokeswoman said the firm allowed employees at its office near Madivala to leave early. Infosys said in a press release that there had been no impact on its business operations, adding: “We have increased security on our campus.”
Bangalore’s industry reacted strongly, condemning the blasts. “(These) despicable actions (are) designed to disrupt the peace and harmony that Bangalore is known for,” said Vijay Mallya, chairman of UB Group, India’s largest maker of alcoholic beverages, in a statement.
Bangalore, a city of about 6 million people, has acquired the image of an emerging hub for militants charged with smuggling arms and engineering bomb attacks in other states.
The police have arrested several suspected Islamic militants and activists of northeastern Indian groups in recent months. The city, also home to many of India’s military and civil aerospace operations, has also been seen as a potential target for terror attacks.
In December 2005, an unidentified gunman sprayed bullets at a conference in the Indian Institute of Science, the country’s oldest scientific education establishment, killing one professor. Other cities in the country have also been targeted by terror groups. As many as 63 people were killed in bomb blasts that rocked Jaipur in May. Last year, another technology hub, Hyderabad, was rocked by two bomb blasts.
ajay.s@livemint.com
PTI contributed to this story.
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First Published: Sat, Jul 26 2008. 12 00 AM IST