Police defuse 3 bombs near cricket stadium

Police defuse 3 bombs near cricket stadium

Bangalore: The police defused three bombs on Sunday near the MA Chinnaswamy cricket stadium in Bangalore, officials said, a day after 14 people were wounded in two blasts.

Bombs set by timer devices went off outside a packed stadium in Bangalore minutes before an Indian Premier League (IPL) match was due to begin on Saturday.

The blasts wounded at least 14 people and blew off a small portion of an outer wall of the stadium. The police later found a third bomb fitted with a timer and defused it.

On Sunday, three more unexploded bombs were found metres away from the stadium, said M.R. Pujar, a senior police officer in Bangalore. “Give us some time, we will let you know who is behind this," Pujar said. “But it appears that the attempt is to scare people."

A home ministry official in New Delhi said criminal gangs may have worked with a sleeper cell from a local militant group to carry out the blasts in Bangalore.

Ammonium nitrate, glycerine and nuts and bolts were used to make the bombs, a forensic science official said.

India decided on Sunday to shift two remaining IPL games from Bangalore to the DY Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai due to security concerns.

Security experts said the Bangalore blasts—the second this year—underline gaps in the security system despite regular threats by militant groups and Indian assurances that heightened security was in place.

In February, a powerful blast ripped through a restaurant in Pune, killing 17 people. India has blamed the Indian Mujahideen, a home-grown militant group with links to militants in Pakistan, for the Pune attack.

Saturday’s blasts came a day after the US state department issued a travel alert to its citizens, saying the US government had received information about militant groups planning attacks in India.

India further tightened security in New Delhi and Dharamsala, where two IPL matches were played on Sunday.

The Indian government is under pressure from the Opposition for failing to tackle security issues effectively. Security has become an election issue ahead of eight key state polls over the next two years.

New Delhi is jittery about possible attacks leading up to the Commonwealth Games to be held in the Capital in October following threats by militant groups from Pakistan.

India has called for a pause in peace talks with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, in which 166 people were killed and which have been blamed on Pakistani groups.