SRINAGAR (Reuters) -A suicide car bomber killed at least four people in an attack on a busy highway in Indian Kashmir on Wednesday hours before a new chief minister was due to be sworn in, police said.
Policemen and civilians removed body parts from the area where half a dozen vehicles and several houses were damaged in the blast which also wounded six people, most of them policemen.
Blood-stained parts of vehicles and shoes were strewn across the road near the site of the explosion in the Himalayan region”s main city, Srinagar, where violence continues despite a tentative peace between India and Pakistan, which have fought two wars over the state.
The police chief of Jammu and Kashmir state, Gopal Sharma, said a militant, two policemen and two civilians were killed in the powerful explosion.
"When a police party tried to stop the car bomber, he exploded the vehicle. We had definite information about it," Sharma said.
India has been on high alert since the weekend, when three coordinated blasts killed 59 people and injured about 200 in the worst militant attack on the nation”s capital.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf that the bombings were probably linked to foreign elements and demanded that Pakistan act against terrorism directed against India.
A Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, called newspaper offices in Srinagar and claimed responsibility for Wednesday”s car bomb attack.
The attack near a security patrol came before a member of India”s ruling Congress party, Ghulam Nabi Azad, was due to take the oath as the state”s new chief minister for the next three years under a power-sharing agreement with a regional party.
Security was tight in Srinagar for Azad”s swearing-in. Azad, 56, who was federal urban development and parliamentary affairs minister, has spent nearly his entire political career outside his home state, building his career in party backrooms.
He lacks a popular base in the troubled Himalayan state and has never won an election there.