Home>News Center>World
         
 

Coordinated bombings kill 15 in India
(AP)
Updated: 2006-03-08 08:54

A series of coordinated bombings rocked a packed railway station and crowded temple Tuesday in Hinduism's holiest city, killing at least 15 people and injuring dozens in an attack that raised fears of communal violence.


People and policemen stand at the site of a bomb blast at the railway station in Varanasi, India, Tuesday, March 7, 2006. Explosions rocked a packed railway station and crowded Hindu temple Tuesday in Hinduism's holiest city, and at least 12 people were killed and dozens injured, officials said. [AP]

Cities across India were put on high alert as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed for calm, said his spokesman, Sanjaya Baru.

"Stern action will be initiated against all those found involved," said Mulayam Singh Yadav, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, the state where Tuesday's blasts occurred.

The attacks, which injured at least 62 people, came only days after Hindus and Muslims fought in the streets of Lucknow, leaving four people dead, during a visit to India by President Bush. The next day, angry Hindus looted Muslim shops and burned vehicles in the coastal resort of Goa in a dispute over a mosque demolition.

It was unclear whether Tuesday's bombings were the work of anti-government or anti-Hindu militant groups or were connected to Bush's visit.

At least 10 people died in what appeared to be two bombings at Varanasi's train station, and five others were killed in another blast at the temple on the banks of the holy Ganges River, said Alok Sinha, a senior state official. However, since the bodies were counted at the mortuary, he could not be sure how many died in each place.

Another senior official, Kamlesh Pathak, said two unexploded bombs one hidden in a pressure cooker and the other in a backpack were found at Varanasi's Godowalia Market and defused by police.

The Press Trust of India news agency, meanwhile, reported that security officials found four unexploded bombs at a bathing platform on the banks of the Ganges, a few miles away.

The blast at the Sankat Mochan temple went off near dusk, when the shrine was crowded with Hindus making special Tuesday offerings to the monkey-god Hanuman, said police inspector Madan Mohan Pande.

At least 22 people were wounded in the temple blast, police official Mohammed Hashmi said.

Televised footage showed a man, his face bloodied, lying on a stretcher. An old woman lay on the floor, holding up her arms to helpers, who pulled her away. Debris, body parts and blood covered the temple floor.

Most witness accounts of the blasts at the city's crowded railway station said one bomb went off either in or next to a train car and the other near the ticket counter in the waiting room.

At least 40 people were injured there, 22 of them seriously, Pathak said.

One witness, Sunil Yadav, described a scene of confusion, with people running and screaming.

"It was a high-intensity blast," a man identified only as Pradeep told the CNN-IBN television station. "After the blast people were running like anything."

Varanasi, 450 miles east of Delhi, is Hinduism's holiest city and ordinarily is filled with pilgrims visiting temples and bathing in the holy waters of the Ganges, which runs through the city.

It also is a popular spot with foreign tourists, especially backpackers.

Home Secretary V.K. Duggal said Tuesday's blasts were similar to Oct. 29 bombings in New Delhi that killed 60 people.

Like those blasts, blamed on Islamic militants fighting to wrest predominantly Muslim Kashmir from India, the Varanasi explosions occurred within 10 minutes of each other, Duggal said, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

While Varanasi is a largely Hindu city, it also has a sizable Muslim population.

Police and paramilitary troops fanned out in Varanasi after Tuesday's explosions, and political leaders, among them top officials for the Hindu nationalist opposition, headed for the city.

The attack on the Hindu holy city came days after Muslims and Hindus battled each other in two other Indian cities, raising fears of a repeat of Hindu-Muslim violence that rocked western India in 2002 after 60 Hindus pilgrims were killed in a train fire initially blamed on Muslims.

That rioting left more than 1,000 people dead over three months. Human rights groups say it was encouraged and at times outrightly directed by politicians.

Although officials have not yet said who they believed was behind Tuesday's attack, many in India clearly suspected Muslim extremists.

On Friday, there were clashes in the nearby city of Lucknow after Hindu shop owners refused to respect a general strike called by Muslim leaders to protest Bush's visit to India. Four people were killed.

On Saturday, hundreds of Hindus rampaged through a town in coastal Goa, storming a police station, beating officers, looting Muslim shops and burning vehicles and buildings. The violence came after Muslims demonstrated to protest the demolition of a mosque by suspected Hindu extremists.



Anti-war mother arrected in New York
Indunesian muslims protest against US
International Motor Show in Geneva
 
  Today's Top News     Top World News
 

Foreign minister: China exports helping US

 

   
 

Trade zone proposed on Taiwan Straits shore

 

   
 

Japan leaders must correct mistakes: FM

 

   
 

China faces realities of manned spaceflight

 

   
 

Concern raised at overseas listings of SOEs

 

   
 

Landless farmers 'must be helped'

 

   
  Al-Jazeera airs tape of 3 hostages in Iraq
   
  US hopes to build coalition on Iran sanctions
   
  Pragmatism tops peace in Israel election campaign
   
  Curfew in Pakistani town after 120 militants die
   
  Bush asks Congress for 'line-item veto' power
   
  NATO commander downplays Afghan insurgency threat
   
 
  Go to Another Section  
 
 
  Story Tools  
   
Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.
Advertisement