Three killed in Indian train blast

Three people were killed and more than 30 injured when a bomb exploded on a train in India’s northern Punjab state.

Three people were killed and more than 30 injured when a bomb exploded on a train in India’s northern Punjab state.

The bomb exploded in a second-class coach as the train travelled across the state last night, said Northern Railways spokesman Davinder Sandhu.

Bombs in trains and buses are fairly common in Punjab, a Sikh majority state near the border with Pakistan. There was no indication that the explosion was linked to recent Hindu-Muslim violence that has killed more than 700 people in western Gujarat state.

Police had no immediate motive or suspect for the explosion, which occurred the train slowly approached Doraha, a town in Ludhiana district.

Two people in the coach were dead at the scene and had not been identified, while a third person died at the Ludhiana Medical College, said Balraj Singh Siddhu, deputy superintendent of police.

About 35 people were taken to hospital with burn injuries, he said by telephone from the accident site.

The bomb was hidden in a small bag that had been placed in an overhead luggage rack. The two passengers who died were sitting directly under the bag, Siddhu said. ‘‘It was a powerful, crude bomb,’’ Siddhu said.

Of the 35 injured, police said four women and 12 men were in a serious condition.

The passengers were mostly labourers from the eastern Indian state of Bihar heading for Ludhiana, a big industrial town and centre of India’s wool and bicycle industries.

Sikh groups who want Punjab to be separated from India are sometimes blamed for explosions there.

Islamic militants who cross the frontier from Pakistan to fight in the disputed province of Kashmir are also accused by police of smuggling explosives and weapons through Punjab. Explosions are also sometimes the result of fighting between political parties.

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