March 7, 2006

Four killed in blasts in Indian holy city

LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) - At least four people were killed
and over a dozen wounded in two separate explosions on Tuesday
in the Hindu pilgrimage town of Varanasi in northern India,
police said.

Television reports said up to 12 may have died.

"So far four people have died, 17 are hospitalized with
injuries," V.N. Rai, inspector-general of police in Uttar
Pradesh state, where Varanasi is located, told Reuters. "All
entry points to the area have been sealed."

One explosion was reported in a packed Hindu temple and
another occurred in a railway station in Varanasi city, a
federal interior ministry official told Reuters.

Private TV channel NDTV said 12 people were feared killed
in the blasts but officials said they could not confirm the

Temple-studded Varanasi, on the banks of the Ganges river
in Uttar Pradesh state, is one of the holiest cities for
India's majority Hindu population.

The blast at the Sankat Mochan temple could have "several
casualties as it is usually packed with thousands of devotees"
on Tuesday, a holy day for most Hindus, said the official, who
is from Varanasi.

"There are some casualties," Yashpal Singh, the state's
police chief, told the Star News TV channel. "The position is
not clear because there is a lot of crowd there. Security has
been increased in the city."