At least 10 people were wounded when a bomb exploded on Saturday outside a packed cricket stadium in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, police said.
The blast blew off portions of an outer wall of the stadium, packed with people who had come to watch a match in the popular Indian Premier League cricket tournament.
Bangalore police commissioner Shankar Bidari said the bomb may have been hidden behind a plastic board. “The match will start, people are moving in and there is no reason to panic,” he said.
The explosion came a day after the US State Department issued a travel alert in which it said: “The US government continues to receive information that terrorist groups may be planning attacks in India”.
Indian Home Ministry officials said cities had been asked to bolster security in key installations after the Bangalore blast.
India’s Congress government is currently under pressure from the opposition for failing to tackle issues such as security and food inflation.
It was the second bomb attack this year, after a powerful blast ripped through a restaurant in the western city of Pune in February, killing 17 people. India has blamed the Indian Mujahideen, a home-grown militant group with links to militants in Pakistan, for the Pune attack.
No one has claimed responsibility for the Bangalore blast. Police commissioner Bidari said forensic science experts were scouring the area for clues.
“It was a huge noise and people started to run. We were really scared,” Arun Kumar, a witness, told television channels.
Injured policemen and locals were taken away by rescuers in stretchers into waiting ambulances, television pictures showed. Sniffer dogs were deployed and bomb squad officials were examining the stadium walls for more posible bombs, officials said.
India remains jittery about the threat of Islamist attacks planned from Pakistani soil. It accuses its neighbour of failing to take action against militant groups which have threatened to disrupt the cricket tournament and the October Commonwealth Games.
New Delhi has paused peace talks with Pakistan since the 2008 Mumbai attacks by Pakistani-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, in which 166 people were killed. It wants “credible steps” by Islamabad to bring the perpetrators to justice.
On Thursday police recovered and defused a bomb on a passenger train travelling to India’s capital. – Reuters