Bus explosion in India kills at least 14

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It's the second bombing in two days

May 22, 1996
Web posted at: 1:30 p.m. EDT (1430 GMT)

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- An explosion aboard a crowded bus killed at least 14 people, including four children, south of New Delhi Wednesday, police said. It was the second deadly blast to rock India in two days.

More than 40 people were injured, and authorities expected the death toll to rise.

The blast occurred on the eve of general elections in Jammu and Kashmir state, the first in nearly seven years. Separatists have vowed to disrupt voting for the Kashmir valley's four parliamentary seats as part of their six-year fight against Indian rule.

On Tuesday, a car bomb blew apart a bustling New Delhi marketplace, killing at least 17 people and injuring more than 50. Responsibility for that attack was unclear. (330 QuickTime movie)

Wednesday's attack on the state-owned bus occurred in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, about 120 miles south of the Indian capital.

No one claimed responsibility, but police said it resembled a bus explosion that occurred April 27 at the start of parliamentary elections.

Rajasthan borders the northern state of Punjab, where a decade-old Sikh separatist revolt was largely crushed in the past few years. A Sikh militant group was among those claiming responsibility for Tuesday's bombing.

A large number of Sikh and Kashmiri militants are imprisoned in Rajasthan, which is ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, the country's new rulers.

No arrests made


Residents in New Delhi struggled to cope with Tuesday's attack.

Bomb squad and forensic scientists combed the burned-out market, and repairmen worked to restore water to the area. People began cleaning up debris from shops and apartments, many of which were gutted.

No arrests have been made, and police said only seven of the victims have been identified.

The blast rocked the popular marketplace when it was crowded with shoppers. Fires ignited nearby buildings, and many bodies were extricated from basements. The injured were rushed to local hospitals where BJP President L.K. Advani visited them.

"We were going to the market. Suddenly, we saw fire coming out of a car and we were hit by glass," one woman said as she was carried away on a stretcher. "My daughter, barely married a month, burned to ashes right before me."

bombed car

Soon after the explosion, a man saying he represented two Kashmiri groups claimed responsibility.

However, on Wednesday, the Sikh separatist group, Khalistan Liberation Force, said they planted the explosive device. They also warned more bombs will explode in Bombay and other major Indian cities to protest the upcoming elections.

For many Indians, the threats are all too real.

"There is a madness, filled with fear," one man said. "Anybody can die, anytime."

CNN New Delhi Bureau Chief Anita Pratap and Reuters contributed to this report.

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