When Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyu-rappa mentioned in the budget speech on July 17 that the first full fledged BJP Government is setting up a well equipped anti-terrorist squad to combat terrorism, terrorists were not deterred. Barely after few days they struck with vengence.
Seven million people of Karnataka were terrorised when Bengaluru witnessed the first experience of serial bomb blasts with eight low-intensity hand-made crude bomb explosions by timer devices. It rocked the southern and central parts on July 25 leaving a woman dead and several injured. All the blasts occurred in a span of 30 minutes from 1.15 pm to 1.45 pm during the busiest lunch hour. The interval between blasts was roughly four minutes. Bomb blast news caused commotion in Vidhan Soudha where assembly session was going on. Session got adjourned immediately and police were seen evicting all those assembled in the corridors of seat of power and soon Vidhan Soudha and Vikas Soudha wore a deserted look.
The first blast occurred at 1.15 pm near Mysore Road. Soon followed other blasts at four places on Hosur Road in the IT corridor?Koramngala Surjapur junction, Madiwala checkpost, Audugodi traffic junction, Langford Road junction, three places on Mysore Road- Nayandanahalli, Kengeri RTO Office and opposite Gopalan Mall. Police said these were hand-made crude bombs built using gelatin sticks with timers, nuts, bolts, wires, urea (ammonium nitrate), engine oil, chips with embedded material and gun powder. All the bombs were dug into the ground. The wave of blasts, though not high on destruction, threw the average Bangalorean into the grip of fear and anxiety.
This is the second significant attempt at creating terror in Bengaluru. The first was the shoot out at the Indian Institute of Science in 2005 in which one professor was killed. The serial blasts in Bengaluru are said to have been ?organised? in retaliation to the arrests of Muslim youths in Hubli, Davangere and Honnali in February-March this year.
Another live improvised explosive device (IED) bomb was found near Forum Mall on July 26 and it was successfully defused by Shri Sukumaran, an official of the bomb disposal squad. Bomb hoax triggered panic in several districts of Karnataka like Mangalore, Mysore, Gulbarga, Kolar etc. Schools in Bengaluru were getting bomb planted calls and several schools had unofficial holidays for two days. Hindu Jagaran Vedike, a wing of RSS, held a protest in front of Mahatma Gandhi Statue and submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister, urging him to tackle terrorism effectively in the state. On July 28, under the leadership of BJP city unit president and MLA B.N. Vijay Kumar the BJP city unit also held a massive rally from Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike office to Rajbhavan, and later demanded the Governor Rameshwar Thakur to pressurise the UPA government at the Centre to reintroduce POTA. Though the bomb blasts in Bengaluru figured in both Houses of the Legislatures, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa announced in the Legislative Council that the government would bring some amendments to the Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA) and implement it. He also said that the state would urge the Centre to bring back the POTA. Issuing identity cards to the residents of Bengaluru and all other cities is also being planned.
Was Bengaluru chosen for the blasts because it is the first BJP government in the South? Was it a retaliatory attack? Was it terrorists dry run? Was it to destabilise government? The serial bomb blast incident leaves behind many haunting questions. Chief Minister in the budget speech said, ?To make the state free from the crime and terrorism is the priority of the Government. Rs. 97 crore have been provided for modernisation of the police forces. Housing facilities for the families of police personnel will be constructed at a cost of Rs. 45 crore. Further Rs. 10 crore have been provided for special repairs of the police housing facilities. Rs. 6 crore have been provided for computerisation and maintenance in the department.? Will these measures motivate police department to intensify the intelligence network to prevent terrorist attack in future? Police have not yet attributed the attack to any group. However they are investigating the involvement of the banned terror outfit Students? Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).