Five killed, 95 injured in bomb blasts in western India

Other News Materials 30 September 2008 10:05 (UTC +04:00)

At least five people were killed and 95 injured in two bomb attacks carried out by suspected terrorists in two communally-sensitive towns in western India, media reports said Tuesday.

Four people died and 80 were injured in a blast near a mosque in Malegaon town of Maharashtra state, some 260 kilometres north-east of the capital Mumbai on Monday night, the NDTV news channel reported.

The low-intensity explosive was planted on a motorcycle and triggered remotely, the police told the news channel, adding that 18 seriously injured victims were being treated at local hospitals, dpa reported.

Rioting that broke out soon after the blast left more people injured - including five policemen. Police had to fire into the air to disperse angry mobs and later imposed curfew in sensitive parts of the town.

Muslim-majority Malegaon has had a history of religious violence between Hindu and Muslims and similar blasts in September 2006 claimed at least 31 lives.

In the neighbouring state of Gujarat, also split by Hindu-Muslim tensions, a 15-year-old boy was killed and 15 injured in another crude bomb attack Monday night in the Muslim-dominated part of Modasa town, the report said.

The bomb was also planted on a motorcycle and exploded in a market full with people celebrating the breaking of the Ramadan fast, the PTI news agency reported.

Gujarat has seen sectarian violence and more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in Hindu-Muslim riots in the state in 2002.

Police said both blasts targeted Muslim areas during the holy month of Ramadan and may have been carried out with a design to trigger religious riots.

No terrorist outfit claimed responsibility for the attacks so far.

Investigators had no leads into the blasts and were questioning witnesses on Tuesday.

Police and authorities were placed on high alert in key towns and cities of western India before the start of the festival season.

Eid al-Fitr, that marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, will be celebrated either on Wednesday or Thursday.

Indian cities including the national capital New Delhi as well as Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad have been rocked by several synchronized bombings since May.

More than 145 people were killed and hundreds have been wounded in these blasts for which a Muslim terrorist group, the Indian Mujahideen, had claimed responsibility.