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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Eight die in India bridge bombing

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A bomb planted under a bridge has killed eight civilians in India

A bomb planted under a bridge has killed eight civilians in India – a day after police found the crude device but left it under sandbags until it could be defused.

The bomb, planted by suspected Maoist rebels, was found on Saturday but could not be defused immediately, police said.

The area was cordoned off and the bomb placed under sandbags.

But on Sunday, teenage boys and men pulled the bomb out from under the sandbags and “fiddled” with it, a police spokesperson said. All five teenagers and three men were killed, and two injured men were hospitalised.

The blast happened in Pachokhar village in Aurangabad district of Bihar state.

Police also blamed suspected rebels for a bomb that exploded in the adjoining Gaya district on Saturday, killing Bihar’s leading explosive disposal expert and a paramilitary soldier as they tried to defuse the bomb.

Aurangabad and Gaya districts held state legislative elections on Saturday. More than 50% of voters turned out, defying a boycott called by the rebels.

The rebels, who say they are inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting for more than three decades in several Indian states, demanding land and jobs for agricultural workers and the poor.

They frequently target police and government officials, whom they accuse of colluding with landlords and rich farmers to exploit the poor.

Thousands of people, including police, militants and civilians, have died in the violence in recent years.

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