Mumbai: At least 30 people died and 56 were seriously injured when at least two blasts hit a crowded market in Malegaon town of Maharashtra on Friday.
Government officials said 22 people died but witnesses said they saw at least 30 bodies.
The blasts occurred near the Noorani Mosque in the Bada Kabristan area of the communally sensitive town in Nashik district just after Friday prayers.
Thousands of people were out on the streets on Friday for Shab-e-Barat, a religious event during which people to offer prayers to dead relatives in graveyards.
Authorities clamped curfew and deployed state paramilitary force in sensitive areas of the textile town.
Union Home Secretary V K Duggal said 30 people were killed and 56 wounded in the two blasts. Eyewitnesses reported three blasts in the area, but police said there were two blasts within an interval of 3-4 minutes and the third sound was an echo of the second blast.
The first blast occurred at 1.45 pm and was followed by two other explosions in intervals of two minutes. Police sources said 25 of the injured are critical. According to preliminary reports, crude bombs were used in the blast. Police also suspect that a timer device could have been used to trigger off the explosions.
A high alert has been sounded across the city. The state administration has appealed to the citizens to maintain calm.
Eight police teams have rushed to the area. The entire town has been cordoned off and the injured have been taken to Wadia Hospital.
TV channels showed a stampede in the market and people rushing out of a narrow gate of the mosque. Scores of people, children among them, were shown running over bodies and injured people.
The blast site was splattered with blood and limbs. Angry residents pelted stones on policemen and prevented them from reaching the blasts site while a mob of nearly 500 persons laid a siege of Azadnagar police station.