10 Dead, 90 Injured in Spate of Blasts in Northern India

Published August 15th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

At least 10 people were killed and as many as 90 injured in a spate of blasts, including a bomb explosion on a train, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, officials said here Tuesday. 

The train bomb, concealed inside a piece of luggage, exploded in the last compartment of the Sabarmati Express as it passed near Rauzagaon, 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the city of Ayodhya. 

Ten people were killed and, by an official count, 40 people injured in the blast which occurred at 10:15 pm (1545 GMT) on Monday, the eve of India's Independence Day celebrations. 

Railway spokesman Akshay Kumar said the compartment had contained only about 70 people. 

"We believe the bomb was hidden in a piece of luggage. Thankfully, the compartment was not too crowded, there were about 70 people inside," Kumar said. 

Witnesses at the site, however, said at least 100 people were crammed into the economy-class carriage and that 80 of them were injured, many of them grievously. 

"The train was overcrowded because of the holiday ... Many were travelling short distances with their family," a rescuer said from the site of the blast. 

Just an hour before the attack on the train, two blasts shook the city of Kanpur, some 160 kilometers (99 miles) east of Ayodhya, local police said. 

Police said the bombs went off one after another near the home of a city councilors, who were injured together with four policemen and three others. 

So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the three bombings. 

Officials at the site of the train blast said seven of the victims died on the spot while two more died in hospital. The 10th died of a heart attack after being shifted to a medical facility. 

The impact of the blast was so powerful that the body of a girl was found some 150 feet (45 meters) from the site of the blast, one witness said. 

Shatrughan Singh, the chief administrator of Faizabad district, said the explosion appeared to have been triggered by accident. 

"Someone appeared to be smuggling the device in the train and it accidentally went off. However, we cannot rule out the involvement of terrorists," Singh said -- AYODHYA, India (AFP) 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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