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Deadly blasts in western India

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Latest update : 2008-09-30

Two separate bomb attacks in religiously-sensitive communities in western India killed at least five people and wounded dozens, according to officials. Monday’s attacks are the latest in a wave of deadly explosions in India in recent months.

At least five people were killed and dozens injured in two separate bomb explosions in western India on Monday, officials and doctors told Reuters.

One of the blasts killed four people and wounded 20 to 25 in the communally sensitive town of Malegaon in Maharashtra state, police and doctors said.

“Among the victims is a 10-year-old child,” said Bharat Wagh, a doctor at a Malegaon hospital treating the casualties.

“Most of those wounded have splinter injuries which can be caused by a bomb,” Wagh told Reuters from the textile town, which has a history of violence between Hindus and Muslims.

More than 35 people were killed there in coordinated bomb attacks in and around a mosque in 2006.

The other bomb, which appeared to have been set off by a timer, killed one person and injured several at a market in the town of Modasa in the western state of Gujarat, officials said.

“I have news of one person dead and seven injured,” Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah told reporters. Local television said two people had died in the attack, but police denied this.

Gujarat police official R.B. Brahmabhatt told reporters the bomb was placed on a motorcycle and, according to preliminary reports, it was probably detonated using a timer device.

Television images showed local people crowding round the blackened shell of a burned motorcycle said to have carried the bomb.

In Malegaon, where about 70 percent of whose 700,000 population are Muslim, thousands of people clashed with police after the blast, angry that the authorities had failed to protect them.

“Police had difficulty controlling the crowds. Many policemen were injured,” Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R.R.  Patil told Zee News channel. Media reports said that here too, the bomb had been placed on a motorcycle.

WAVE OF ATTACKS

On Saturday, a bomb exploded in a crowded New Delhi market killing two people and injuring at least 22. A few days earlier, a series of bomb blasts in the capital killed 23 people and wounded more than 100.

Monday’s were the latest in a wave of bomb attacks in India in recent months.

The Indian Mujahideen (IM) militant group, an offshoot of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India, says it carried out most of the attacks.

Hundreds of people have been killed by bombs in India in recent years, and most attacks have been blamed on Muslim militants, their targets ranging from mosques and Hindu temples to trains.

The National Counterterrorism Centre in Washington says 3,674 people were killed in militant attacks in India between January 2004 and March, a toll second only to that in Iraq.

The failure to prevent such attacks has become an embarrassment for the Congress Party-led coalition government, less than a year before elections.

In July, eight bombs went off in the IT centre Bangalore, killing one person, and the next day at least 45 people were killed when a series of bombs exploded in Ahmedabad, the main city of Gujarat state.

In May, more than 50 people were killed in coordinated bomb attacks in the western tourist city of Jaipur.

Date created : 2008-09-30

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