One person was killed and four injured after unidentified gunmen opened indiscriminate fire in the campus of Bangalore's Indian Institute of Science late Wednesday evening.
The deceased was Professor M C Puri, Professor Emeritus in the Mathematics Department of Delhi's Indian Institute of Technology. He had retired a few years ago.
The injured are Dr Vijay Chandru a senior scientist of IISc, Dr Pankaj Gupta of IIT, Vijay Patil, a lab assistant at the Dhanvanthri Kshetra, Cadilla Phamaceuticals Laboratory within the campus, and Dr Sangeetha. They were rushed to the M S Ramaiah Hospital. Their condition is stated to be critical.
According to eyewitnesses, the incident occurred when the victims along with other participants of an international seminar were moving from the J N Tata Auditorium towards the Satish Dhavan auditorium. Four to five people got off a white Ambassador car and started firing at random. The attackers allegedly used AK47s. An unexploded bomb was also reportedly found in the vicinity.
The guards, who fled as soon after they heard gunshots, said that they could not see how many assailants there were.
Except Patil, the other victims had been invited to participate in the three-day seminar organised by the IISc's Department of Management Studies. Patil had come out of his laboratory after hearing the commotion outside and hit by a stray bullet. The seminar is scheduled to be concluded on Thursday.
Police have arrived on the spot and are combing the area. Bangalore Police Commissioner Ajay Kumar Singh said, "We can't say anything at this stage."
He said it appeared that an automatic weapon was used in the shooting. "There is no information on how they came and who they were."
Singh said one of the assailants was seen running with a gun for about 75 to 100 metres firing indiscriminately.
Karnataka Chief Minister N Dharam Singh described the incident as ''unfortunate'' and called for a high-level meeting Thursday morning to discuss the issue and security arrangements for the institute. A pool of blood was visible near the parking lot of the auditorium and a few other places within the campus.
Another function addressed by Infosys Chairman and Mentor N R Narayana Murthy had just concluded in the nearby T Chowdaiah Hall when the incident occurred.
Sources said the possibility of terror attack could not be ruled out given the nature of the automatic weapons used in the attack. A state-wide alert has been sounded.
Union Home Ministry officials held an emergency meeting after the suspected militant attack.
The Institute has been on the hit list of Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Tayiba and several alerts had been issued for safeguarding of the building earlier, official sources said.
The officials are also trying to ascertain whether the underworld had any role in Wednesday's incident as the main accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, Abu Salem is in Bangalore to undergo lie detector and brain mapping tests, sources said.
(With agency inputs)