//Two killed, 41 wounded in Kashmir blast

Two killed, 41 wounded in Kashmir blast

Saturday , May 13, 2006

Jammu: At least two people were killed and 41 wounded on Saturday by an explosion apparently aimed at a protest rally by a Hindu nationalist party, police and witnesses said.
The blast was near a bus station in Doda, 170 km northeast of Jammu, as a march by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the killing of 35 Hindus by suspected Islamic rebels in the area on May 1 passed by.

Police said it was caused by a bomb while some of the wounded talked of a grenade. No militant group claimed responsibility for the blast but police said they suspected it to be the work of Islamist rebels fighting Indian rule in Kashmir.

"The explosion was deafening and shook many nearby houses," Mohammed Arif, a witness, said.

Two people died in hospital and eight of the wounded were in a serious condition, a police officer said.

The BJP said one of the two people killed was a party worker. In New Delhi, the party condemned the blast and said senior party leader and former deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishan Advani would go to Doda on Sunday.

Separatist guerrillas fighting New Delhi's rule in Kashmir, claimed by India and Pakistan, have stepped up their attacks with the end of winter.

Until spring, snow and harsh weather blocks mountain passes used by the rebels to cross into Indian-ruled territory. Tens of thousands of people have died in Kashmir since 1989, when an Islamic revolt began against Indian rule.