Saturday’s blast at German Bakery was aimed at foreign nationals in an attempt to draw attention, senior intelligence officials said.
The 25-year-old bakery, located 500 mtr from the Osho international commune, is popular with tourists and expatriate residents.
Police said forensic experts have found the remains of a bag, which they said may have contained the bomb. The bakery is also close to two Jewish buildings, Chabad House and the Synagogue, and Surya Villa, where alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyeba operative David Headley lived during his visit to Pune in July 2008 and March 2009.
When the blast occurred at around 7 pm, the area was bustling with foreigners, said witness Amol Kale, adding: “There was total chaos after the explosion”. Another witness, Vilas Bhilare said: “Some of the bodies were in pieces, we had to collect them in bits of cloth.”
The bakery also sits close to the Police Commissionerate and the army’s Southern Command headquarters. A senior police official pointed out that the bakery has always been a soft target.
A German couple, identified only as Jaya and Jurgen, said: “We landed in Pune recently. The blast has left us shocked, we are now rethinking our stay”. One of those injured, 53-year-old Sameera (last name not known), said: “I was close to the bakery, passing through the north main road when the blast happened. Suddenly, I discovered injuries on my hand.”
A few years ago, German Bakery was reported to be a major centre for the procurement of contraband items. This was the first instance of Pune — a city that attracts thousands of students from around the country — being the site of a bomb blast.