At least seven people were killed and as many as 80 injured when a bomb ripped through the last carriage of a night train in northern India today, police and rail authorities said.
K.M. Tripathi, director of rail operations at Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh state, said the bomb exploded as the train travelled through the village of Roza near the town of Faizabad.
“The roof of the train has been blown off,” he said today. A relief train had reached the site, where bodies were strewn around the tracks in the darkness, he later said.
The injured were taken to government hospitals in Faizabad, about 35 km (22 miles) east of the accident site, police said.
The bomb exploded in a carriage used partly by passengers and partly for mail. Police said they suspected it had been hidden in the mail compartment.
Indians Blame Pakistan
They said the blast was the handiwork of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and was linked to the armed struggle against Indian rule in Kashmir. Indian and Pakistani authorities frequently blame violent incidents on each others’ agents.
Police said they did not expect the death toll to rise further. Tripathi said attempts were under way to get the train moving in a couple of hours.
The train, Sabarmati Express, had been heading for Ahmedabad in the western state of Gujarat, from Muzaffarpur in the northern state of Bihar.
Trouble in Kashmir
Less than an hour before the train blast, three other bombs exploded in the same state, injuring seven police officers and three civilians.
They said they suspected timers had been used because the second and third bombs went off while police officers were on the scene investigating the first.
Authorities intensified security around the country in preparation for Independence Day celebrations on Tuesday, fearing attacks by Kashmiri militants and separatist guerrillas in the northeast.
A series of explosions and gun battles killed 16 people and injured dozens in Kashmir on Sunday.
In the village of Kud in Kashmmir, two land mines exploded under buses carrying Indian paramilitary troops on Sunday, authorities said.
Six troops were killed and 40 injured, 10 critically.
The Pakistan-based Hizb-ul Mujahideen, the largest of the Muslim rebel groups here, claimed responsibility for the mine explosions.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.