The seven low-intensity bombs that panicked Bangalore on Friday were meant to spread fear more than mass destruction or death, said investigators and anti-terrorism experts.
There were no immediate clues to the synchronised explosions — a woman was killed and shrapnel injured seven people — but HT has learned that a Karnataka police team left for Hyderabad on Friday night to interrogate an MBA student who was arrested on July 15 in that city.
They hope to interrogate Mohammed Muqeemudin Yasir, brother of Raziuddin Nasir, arrested on January 29 on charges of organising terror-training camps in the forests near Hubli, Karnataka. “During interrogation, he (Yasir) said he had taken operatives to Karnataka and arranged safehouses,” Hyderabad Police Commissioner Prasanna Rao told HT.
Both men are sons of Hyderabad’s Maulana Nasiruddin, convicted of murdering former Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya in March 2003.
“The primary objective (of Friday’s bombings) was to convey a message that the terrorists have the capability to hit at will, when and where they want,” said Bahukutumbi Raman, former additional secretary in the Research and Analysis Wing. “Their second objective is possibly to spread nervousness among tourists and businessmen.”
Many infotech firms and malls shut down after the bombings. “We have increased security on our campus,” said a spokesperson for tech giant Infosys. Bomb-disposal units and forensic experts raced from bomb-site to bomb-site in a 10- to 15-km radius after the bombs went off within 70 minutes from 1.20 pm. The bombs were placed in flower pots stuffed with nuts and bolts, preliminary investigations revealed.
The bombs were placed near a bus stop, three police outposts and transformers.
“Four of these seven bombs had been planted on a 3-km stretch of Hosur Road. The total amount of explosive chemicals used in these bombs is equivalent to one or two hand grenades,” Police Commissioner Shankar Bidri said.
In the evening, the state cabinet headed by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa reviewed the security arrangements at the airport, bus and train stations and vital installations. “This is a cowardly act by anti-national forces to create panic and disrupt normalcy,” said Yeddyurappa.
In Delhi, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said the Centre was willing to provide Central
Industrial Security Force security — as in airports — to the IT sector.