ombings kill 50, injure more than 100 in southern India

MADRAS, India (AP) — Six militants died Sunday when a bomb exploded prematurely in a house during a police raid, raising the death toll in a series of weekend blasts in southern India to 50, police said.
Another eight militants were arrested during the police sweep at the home in Coimbatore, 1,500 miles south of New Delhi, police said. Three officers were injured in the operation.
Just hours before the raid, 13 explosions rocked Coimbatore, killing 44 people and injuring more than 120 on Saturday.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts, but authorities suspected radical Muslim groups operating in the area.
The explosions Saturday occurred near the area where the leader of the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party was to address an election rally, police said. If the bombings were election-related, they would be the worst outbreak of violence in what has been so far an unusually peaceful campaign.
A leader of one of the Muslim groups, S.A. Basha, was arrested at his home in Madras on Saturday night and charged with illegally storing explosives. Police were investigating whether he was linked to the bombings.
United News of India reported that police arrested hundreds of other people linked to Basha’s group, known as Al-Umma, and seized crude bombs and other weapons in a crackdown on Muslim militants.
The bombings sparked clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs Saturday night, but the area was calm Sunday morning. Some Muslim families left their homes in Coimbatore fearing attacks.
About 2,000 army personnel patrolled the streets to check possible violence and were ordered to shoot at sight anyone who broke a strictly enforced curfew.
Despite the tight security, another bomb thrown at a radio repair shop in the heart of town exploded Sunday evening, injuring one person, police said.
In other weekend violence, eight security force personnel were killed Sunday in the eastern state of Manipur when armed men attacked government workers carrying election material.
In the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, two men were killed while trying to manufacture homemade bombs on the eve of elections.