10 injured in 2 bombs near Bangalore stadium

NEW DELHI — Two small bombs exploded outside a Bangalore cricket stadium as an estimated 35,000 fans were heading to an Indian Premier League match on Saturday, injuring 10 people.

By (AP)

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Published: Sun 18 Apr 2010, 9:31 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:13 AM

City police commissioner Shankar Bidari said four officers and a security guard were among the wounded. The guard’s injuries were serious.

“It appears that some explosives may have been hidden in the wall” next to a stadium entrance, Bidari said. “The explosives weren’t powerful.”

The blasts, less than an hour before the game’s scheduled start, set off panic among the thousands of people streaming into Chinnaswamy Stadium to see the Bangalore Royal Challengers play the Mumbai Indians. The Twenty20 game, featuring Indian stars Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, started an hour late amid increased security.

Initial investigations show the explosives used in the blasts were locally made and of low intensity, M.R. Poojar, the city’s deputy police commissioner told The Associated Press.

Bangalore lost to Tendulkar’s Mumbai squad by 57 runs in its last regular season match ahead of the semifinals.

Bangalore captain Anil Kumble, a former Indian captain, said none of his players wanted to forfeit the match following the explosion.

“We heard a noise. We were told to be careful. The security guys told us that they will check and let us know about the situation. No player opted to step out of the game and all were ready to play,” Kumble was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India.

The International Cricket Council said it was too early to comment on the attack. There was no reference to the blasts on the IPL’s official website by early Sunday.

Bangalore is set to host four games during the World Cup starting next February. Pakistan lost co-hosting rights for the World Cup a year ago after terrorists attacked the Sri Lanka team convoy in Lahore, killing six police officers and a driver.

Karnataka Home Minister VS Acharya was quoted as saying the blasts appeared to be a “mischievous attempt to create panic.”

“Looks like it was done to create an alarm. We are investigating from all angles,” Acharya told PTI.

Sports venues in India have faced tight security amid fears that Islamist radical groups may target them.

The second edition of the lucrative IPL was moved offshore to South Africa last year due to government and police concerns that security forces would be too stretched because the tournament dates clashed with federal elections.

Twenty20 cricket has boomed in popularity since the IPL was launched in 2008, with tournaments spring up all over the world.

The first edition of the Twenty20 Champions League, featuring the top provincial clubs from around the world, was due to be held in India in late 2008 but was canceled following terrorist attacks in Mumbai which left 164 people dead. One of the luxury hotels targeted in the Mumbai attacks was a regular venue for international touring cricket teams.

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