December 29, 2005

Officials blame militants for Bangalore shootings

BANGALORE (Reuters) - Indian police stepped up patrols in
the southern technology hub of Bangalore on Thursday after a
professor was shot dead and four other people wounded at a top
science university in what authorities said was an attack by
suspected anti-India militants.

Officials did not offer any clue as to the identity of the
gunman who left behind a hand grenade after the shootings
outside a conference hall at the Indian Institute of Science,
but said events indicated it was a terror attack.

India's capital, New Delhi, and the financial center of
Mumbai have been hit by such attacks before, but the shootings
on Wednesday was rare in the south.

The professor, three other academics and a laboratory
technician, had just attended a seminar when they were shot
from a range of 10-20 yards.

The attack appeared to be "a pre-planned terrorist
activity," involving up to three persons, said Dharam Singh,
chief minister of Karnataka state where Bangalore is the

"This is the first time this is happening," Singh told
reporters after an emergency meeting with security officials.

He said the attack posed no threat to investment in

"The intention is to create fear and demoralization," said
Singh, who added that protection for information technology and
biotechnology companies would be stepped up with increased
police patrols in the streets.

State police chief B.S. Syal said he saw no reason to link
the attack with the arrival in Bangalore of Abu Salem, one of
India's most wanted men, who is accused of involvement in a
series of bombings in Mumbai in 1993 that killed 260 people.

Salem was brought to Bangalore for psychological tests. He
was extradited from Portugal in November after evading arrest
for years over the bombings in the city then known as Bombay.

Bangalore is home to more than 1,500 information technology
companies, among them dozens of global firms.

Police have previously warned that some of these firms
faced threats from Islamist militants fighting Indian rule in
disputed Kashmir.