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Terrorists kill technology professor in shooting attack on science conference in India

December 29, 2005

Terrorism Alert in india New Delhi (dpa) - India's southern states were Thursday placed on high alert as police conducted raids to nab suspected terrorists who struck at a science conference in the southern city of Bangalore, killing a professor and injuring three others.

Unidentified assailants barged onto the campus of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) on Wednesday evening and fired at a group of scientists using automatic weapons. They later fled in a car.

Police said Professor M.C. Puri from the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi succumbed to bullet wounds on the way to hospital.

Following the attack, Karnataka state - of which Bangalore is capital - and other states in India's south have tightened security at sensitive installations and public utilities.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) also placed its institutions across the country on alert.

Chief Minister of Karnataka, N Dharam Singh who held a high level security review meeting said it was an act of "terrorists", judging by the sophisticated weapons used in the attack.

India's Home Ministry officials saying an AK-56 assault rifle was used in the shoot-out.

"Preliminary investigations by police and vital clues available so far indicate it was a terror attack. We suspect it could be the handiwork of a terror or militant organisation," Singh said.

Singh added that at least three people might be involved in the "pre-planned attack" which was aimed at creating fear among people.

According to intelligence officials, Bangalore, which is considered India's Information Technology capital, has long been on the "hit-list" of suspected Moslem militant organisations like Lashkar-e-Toiba (Soldiers of the Pure).

The LeT is believed to have planned several attacks in India, including the one on India's Parliament House in 2001 and the Red Fort in New Delhi in 2000.

"We are not ruling out the possibility of the involvement of Lashkar-e-Toiba. But they have not claimed responsibility and there is also no concrete reason for us to say that it was the Lashkar," Ajay Kumar Singh, commissioner of police, Bangalore told reporters.

"But since they have been a part of similar operations previously we are not ruling out the possibility," he said.

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