10 injured in bomb blast at Bengaluru’s Rameshwaram Cafe; CM Siddaramaiah says explosion may have been caused by 'IED' : The Tribune India

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10 injured in bomb blast at Bengaluru’s Rameshwaram Cafe; CM Siddaramaiah says explosion may have been caused by 'IED'

Bengaluru Police register case under stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Explosive Substances Act

10 injured in bomb blast at Bengaluru’s Rameshwaram Cafe; CM Siddaramaiah says explosion may have been caused by 'IED'

Staff and customers at Rameswaram Cafe after a blast, in Bengaluru on March 1, 2024. Video grab/PTI



PTI

Bengaluru, March 1

A low-intensity bomb blast at a popular eatery here on Friday left 10 people injured even as the police invoked the stringent UAPA provisions in the case.

Police suspect that an improvised explosive device (IED) fitted with a timer inside a bag could have exploded.

Officials from the local unit of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrived at the spot and conducted inquiry.

The Bengaluru police registered a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Explosive Substances Act.

A statement issued by the city Police Commissioner’s office said 10 people—hotel staff and customers—were injured in the blast that occurred between 12.50 pm and 1 pm. The injured are undergoing treatment.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said investigation is on to ascertain the cause and nature of the explosion at the popular Rameshwaram Cafe in Whitefield locality and added it might have been caused by an “improvised explosive device”.

The incident should not be politicised and everyone should cooperate, he said, adding strict action would be taken against those involved.

Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, who along with Home Minister G Parameshwara visited the blast site in the evening and also those injured at the hospital, said it was a low intensity explosion and a timer was fixed.

“The blast occurred at 1 pm. A young man of about 28-30 years came to the cafe, purchased Rava idli at the counter, placed the bag near a tree (adjacent to the cafe) and left. After one hour the blast took place,” he said.

Noting that the Central Crime Branch (CCB) has taken up the investigation, the DCM said, “Seven to eight teams have been formed... We are confident that within a few hours they will find the culprit.” State police chief Alok Mohan described the explosion as a “bomb blast” and said nobody was seriously injured.

“We are investigating. FSL (forensic) teams have come and are checking. City police Commissioner and other officers are at the spot. We will certainly identify who did it,” he said after visiting the spot.

Asked whether an IED was used for the blast, he said, “we are checking.” “Let’s not say anything now itself. The FSL team has come and they are checking. Once they collect (samples from the spot), we will examine.” Divya Raghavendra Rao, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Rameshwaram Cafe told media that the blast occurred in the area where customers wash their hands. A stand is also kept there, where the waste is collected.

The explosion was caused due to some object in a bag placed by someone from outside, she claimed.

A CCTV video of the incident showed an explosion, leading to smoke and panic-stricken customers and others fleeing the place.

While it was initially suspected that a gas leak could have triggered the blast, the Fire department ruled out the possibility and said a bag was found at the spot.

Police are looking into all angles related to the incident. A bomb disposal squad and forensic teams are at the spot.

CCTV footage is being verified to check if there was any suspicious movement in and around the cafe.

“At 1.08 pm today, the Fire department received a call about LPG leakage fire in the cafe. When our officers and teams reached the spot, there was no fire or flame. A bag which was lying behind a woman who was sitting with six other customers at the eatery exploded. It is suspected that the explosion could have been caused due to some object in that bag,” TN Shivashankar, Director of Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services department told PTI.

Ruling out about the possibility of any gas cylinder leakage, the officer said, “I along with my team of officers inspected the spot. But there is no sign of any leakage from the gas cylinder. We have checked it. Another LPG gas cylinder inside the kitchen which was used for making tea and coffee also was checked but there is no leakage from it as well. There is no sign of gas leakage from any cylinders at the spot as per our initial probe.” The cafe which is located at Whitefield’s Brookfield area, a vibrant neighborhood, a business centre as well as a tech hub.

It is usually crowded with employees from nearby offices during the lunch hours.

Edison, an eyewitness said, “I was waiting outside the eatery for my turn when suddenly we heard a loud noise... an explosion. We got scared not knowing what it was. There were around 35-40 people at the eatery. They all started rushing out and there was absolute chaos. They started saying that a cylinder exploded. But we don’t know exactly what happened.” Amruth, who works at a private firm nearby had just placed his order when he suddenly he heard a huge explosion.

In Mysuru, Siddaramaiah said after 12 pm someone placed a bag and went. All the injured persons are out of danger.

“CCTV and other things are being examined. We have come to know about someone placing a bag. It is said to be an improvised explosive blast. We have to see, investigations are on.” Asked whether it was a terrorist act, the CM said, it is not known and probe was on.

“It was not a large-scale blast; it was an improvised explosive blast. Such things have happened earlier too, it should not happen. Let’s see what it is. In recent times such blasts had not taken place other than the incident in Mangaluru (November ’22 pressure cooker blast) during BJP rule. This is the first such incident during our government,” he added.

#Siddaramaiah


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