NEW DELHI: Dozens were killed or injured, many of them children, in two blasts in India as the country's premier marked Indian Independence Day yesterday with a pledge to wage an unrelenting fight against terrorism.
“We will be united in combating this. Let there be no doubt on this score because violence cannot lead to development and progress,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on his first Independence Day since taking office in May
His speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort in this capital came as festivities were marred by a powerful blast at a college parade ground in the rebel-infested north-eastern state of Assam that killed 15 people.
“Seven of the dead were boys between 10 and 12, six were women believed to be their mothers or relatives. There were also two men who died,” Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told a news conference in the state capital, Guwahati.
Twenty-one people were wounded in the massive explosion in the remote town of Dhemaji, 460km east of the Assam capital, that sent victims flying into the air and left body parts strewn across the ground.
“There was total panic with people running all over ... crying for help,” government official Jatindra Nath said. Many were “bleeding profusely.”
Doctors at the lone hospital fought to save the lives of the wounded, while seven were flown to another town for treatment.
“A 12-year-old boy was brought with one of his limbs dismembered,” said one hospital doctor, Biju Baruah.
In the Barmulla district of revolt-racked Indian Kashmir, 15 people, including some children, were hurt when militants fired a grenade at a high school during Independence Day festivities, officials said. – AFP
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