Independence Day Bombings Kills Fifteen in India

Christians express sorrow and commitment to unity of the nation following Sunday’s ‘dastardly acts’ which lead to the deaths of 15 people.
( [email protected] ) Aug 16, 2004 08:51 PM EDT

A bomb exploded during an Independence Day parade in India's remote northeast on Sunday, killing at least 15 people, while a rocket attack hit celebrations a school in Kashmir, wound 17, officials said. The attacks came just an hour after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged to fight terrorism.

“We will fight terrorism forcefully. Let there be no doubt about it,” Singh said in his speech at New Delhi’s 17th century Red Fort.

He reiterated the warning later Sunday as he expressed his condolences to the families of the victims.

“Such dastardly acts show the terrorists’ disregard for innocent lives. The perpetrators of such acts of violence will not be spared and the country’s resolve to eliminate the scourge of terrorism remains unshaken,” Singh said in a statement.

John, Dayal, General Secretary of the All India Catholic Union told AsiaNews, “This type of violence strikes the whole population irrespective of creed and religion. … Yesterday the nation was united in celebrating; today it is united in condemning the willful murder of the innocent.”

According to sources, the victims were taking part in a parade held at a local college in a remote town in the northeastern Assam state celebrating India’s August 15 Independence Day when a bomb buried beneath the ground exploded among school children and their parents.

Fifteen people were reported to have died following the bombing, seven of which were children. Another 21 were wounded.

Meanwhile, in Dangiwachi, a village 45 miles north of Srinagar in the State of Jammu- Kashmir, a rocket attack also hit Independence Day celebrations, injuring 17 people, mostly children.

The perpetrators of the attack in Kashmir is not known at the present, however, the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) is suspected of being behind the attack in Dhemji.

Until last year, the suspected rebels mainly targeted trains, rail tracks, road bridges, oil pipelines and government soldiers.

According to AsiaNews, Indian forces and pro-Pakistan Muslim irrendentists have been waging a war for the past 50 years over the status of the State. Although Pakistan denies any official involvement in the violence in Kashmir, India has accused its neighbor of training and arming Islamic militants, a charge Pakistan denies.