Bomb on Indian commuter train kills 10

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The Independent Online

At least 10 people, mostly women, were killed yesterday when a bomb exploded on a commuter train at a suburban station in Bombay, India's commercial hub, in an attack that will stoke tensions between Hindus and Muslims.

At least 10 people, mostly women, were killed yesterday when a bomb exploded on a commuter train at a suburban station in Bombay, India's commercial hub, in an attack that will stoke tensions between Hindus and Muslims.

Although no one had claimed responsibility by late last night, the police pointed out that militant Islamist groups were behind at least two crude bombings in the city in the past four months. This bomb, however, was much larger.

The attack seems likely to exacerbate friction in the subcontinent as hard-line Hindu nationalists within the government have in the past linked Islamist bombings with Pakistan. It came as Indian and Pakistani troops spent four hours trading artillery fire across their disputed frontier in Kashmir yesterday, where four Indian soldiers and two civilians were reportedly killed in separate incidents.

The bomb exploded at Mulund station in Bombay, at a time when commuters were returning from work. There were chaotic scenes as the rescue workers sought to help the dozens of injured out of the wreckage. Police said eight women were killed in the blast, which went off between a ladies-only first-class coach and a general compartment.

It happened a day after the 10th anniversary of a wave of bombings in Bombay that killed more than 250. That blitz was retaliation for a bout of Hindu-Muslim bloodletting, in which many hundreds died, and which was triggered by the razing of a mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya in 1992 by Hindu militants; the latter have been campaigning for a temple to be erected on the site ever since, guaranteeing that the issue remains volatile.

Several blasts have rocked the city since late last year. In early December, two people were killed and 31 wounded when an explosion ripped off the rear of a bus. Another blast several days later in a food court housing a McDonald's fast-food outlet injured 23. In January, 30 people were wounded when a crude bomb exploded in a crowded street in a Bombay suburb.

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