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Nine injured in bomb blast in Bengaluru eatery

Police suspect that a bag at the eatery with a possible improvised explosive device (IED) could have exploded, even as the NIA and the IB have been apprised of the matter. Officials from the local unit of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) later arrived at the spot.

Nine injured in bomb blast in Bengaluru eatery

Rameshwaram Cafe (PTI)

BENGALURU: A bomb blast at a popular eatery in the city on Friday left nine persons injured and police have launched a probe from all angles after it emerged that an earlier suspected gas leak was not the cause of the explosion.

Police suspect that a bag at the eatery with a possible improvised explosive device (IED) could have exploded, even as the NIA and the IB have been apprised of the matter. Officials from the local unit of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) later arrived at the spot.

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

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

State police chief Alok Mohan described the explosion as a "bomb blast" and said nobody was seriously injured.

"At 1 PM, a bomb blast occurred at the hotel (cafe), nine people are injured, and no one is serious. 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.

Speaking to reporters, he said the injured -- both staff and customers -- are undergoing treatment.

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 a Kannada news channel 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 from 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.

The Opposition BJP sought a detailed probe into the matter.

"Deeply troubled to hear about the blast at Rameswaram Cafe in Bangalore (sic). Praying for a swift recovery of all the injured in the incident. State govt should order a detailed enquiry & spare no efforts in apprehending the perpetrators," BJP state president Vijayendra Yediyurappa said in a post on 'X.'.

'Callousness' of the government in downplaying such crimes "is pushing the state into this chaos & proving to be a safe haven for antisocial elements.".

"Failure of police intelligence is also evident in this incident. We strongly urge the police to conduct a thorough probe & eradicate these elements from the core without yielding to any political pressures," he demanded.

R Ashoka, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly said, "the bomb blast at Rameshwaram Cafe in Bengaluru is yet another glaring example of the deteriorating law and order situation in Karnataka ever since CM @siddaramaiah led @INCKarnataka Govt came to power in the state.".

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.

Subsequently, police were looking into all angles related to the incident.

A bomb disposal squad and forensic teams were at the spot..

CCTV footage is being scanned 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.

It is not clear whose bag it was.

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 that 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, the investigations are on.".

Asked whether it was a terrorist act, the CM said, it is not known and investigation was on. Police are at the spot and he has asked the Home Minister also to visit the spot.

"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 (Nov'22 pressure cooker blast) during BJP rule. This is the first such incident during our government," he added.

Speaking to DT Next, Divya Raghavendra Rao, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Rameshwaram Cafe said, ‘We are deeply saddened by the unfortunate incident that happened today. We are cooperating with the authorities and officials in their investigations. Our thoughts are with the injured and their families, and we are offering them all the support, assistance and care they need and pray for their speedy recovery."

with inputs from PTI.

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