Bangalore: A loud bang and the next moment three cars went up in flames and a bike blown to smithereens, recounted witnesses to a terror strike outside the BJP office buzzing with activity ahead of the May 5 Assembly polls.
"All of us were sitting in a police van in front of which the cars and a motorbike were parked. I heard a deafening sound and when I opened my eyes I saw all the three vehicles in flames and the bike blown to smithereens," 50-year-old Meerannavar told PTI.
"Our van was fully damaged, the glass panes shattered, with splinters hitting us. The impact of the blast was so much that the seats sprang up and I almost hit the roof. I cannot hear through my left ear now," said the policeman, undergoing treatment at the hospital.
He was among the injured police personnel from the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP).
Meerannavar has glass splinters embedded in his head which would have to be removed, according to the doctors.
58-year-old Kunjappa, a KSRP Sub Inspector, said, "The sound was such, I felt my head would split into two. While I saw flames leaping from the vehicles, the bike broke into pieces." Kunjappa was also having hearing problem and suffered injuries all over his body.
"My head still feels heavy and is reeling. It was a sound which I will never like to hear again. The vehicles in front of our van were burning while our van was badly damaged with glass splinters from the broken window panes flying all over. I feel terrible," said Vishveshwaraiah (50), looking badly shaken after the incident.
For two friends Rakshita and Leesha, who were returning from tuitions, it was an unforgettable experience. "We heard a very loud sound and the next moment we were on the ground lying injured," one of them said.
The two were immediately rushed to the K C General Hospital by an autorickshaw driver.
"Both need surgical intervention. One suffered a knee fracture and the other a soft tissue injury," said Dr Dhanya Kumar, Director of the Hospital.
Of the 16 injured, 15 have been admitted to K C General Hospital while one was treated as an outpatient. Eleven of the injured are from the KSRP, Dr Chandra Prabha, Chief Medical Officer of the hospital said.
"Two patients including one who was bleeding from the ear have been referred to other hospitals," Kumar said.
For many residents of Malleshwaram, one of the oldest localities of Bangalore, it has been a "terrible experience".
"We are still reeling under shock. We cannot imagine that such an incident has taken place in such a peaceful locality," said one of the residents.
A housewife staying very close to the blast site suffered a gash on her forehead. "I was in my kitchen when glass splinters flew from the window and hit me," she said.
Another youth whose office is located in the area said, "The sound was deafening. The glass panes of my office were shattered. I saw smoke billowing. The smoke was almost as high as coconut trees outside my office."