BANGALORE: Two low-intensity explosions near a packed Chinnaswamy cricket stadium less than an hour before an IPL match left 15 persons including five security men injured and sent nervous crowds running in panic.
The start of the match between the home team Royal Challengers and Mumbai Indians was delayed by an hour and play commenced in the stadium after the police gave an all clear signal. An estimated 35,000 spectators had come to watch the game.
The explosives placed behind a plastic board near the wall outside the stadium, venue for the tie, went off 45 minutes before the start of the match at 4pm, injuring four police personnel, a private security guard and 10 others, police said. Another small explosion took place near the stadium.
"Two low intensity bombs have exploded. We are investigating ", joint commissioner of police Alok Kumar said.
Three injured policemen were shifted to the ICU of a private hospital. Five persons, whose eardrums were damaged due to the impact of the blast, are undergoing treatment as in-patients, hospital sources said.
Seven others who had suffered bruises were discharged after first aid, sources said.
"It is a minor blast that occurred near the wall adjacent to gate number 12. It appears that some explosive material was hidden behind a plastic board near the wall", Bangalore city police commissioner Shankar Bidari told reporters after visiting the spot.
The explosion damaged a two-feet section of the wall. Remnants of the explosive materials were found at the spot, sources said.
In New Delhi, home secretary G K Pillai said low intensity explosive was used in one blast and in the second blast possibly an even smaller quantity was used.
Sources said the CCTV footage of the area where the explosions occurred was being analysed.
Forensic experts rushed to the spot and were analysing materials collected from the blast site.
"There is no cause for panic. The match will go on. We have taken all precautionary measures" Bidari said assuring worried fans.
A conclusion can be arrived at only after receiving the report by investigators, he said.
"Suddenly there was a sound and some pieces of wall flew off. Some were hit on the face," an eyewitness said.
Minutes after the blasts, police cordoned off the entire area and closed down the gates to prevent movement of people as spectators waited to move into the stadium. Thousands of people were entering the stadium when the explosions occurred.
Police also deployed additional forces in the stadium as a precautionary measure and conducted a thorough search around the match venue.
"FSL experts are undertaking analysis of the explosive material and the cause will be known after receiving their report", Bidari said. Sniffer dogs were also pressed into service.
The IT hub, which has been on the terror radar, has witnessed low intensity bomb explosions for the second time since July 2008.
On July 25, 2008, the city was rocked by eight serial blasts, claiming the life of a woman.
The Royal Challengers were initially apprehensive of taking to the field after the blast, sources said.
Two blasts before Bangalore IPL match, 15 injured - Bangalore - City - The Times of India