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Twin blasts at train station in southern India kill 22-year-old woman, injure 14 other people

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CHENNAI, India - Twin blasts ripped through two coaches of a train Thursday morning just minutes after it pulled into one of India's busiest railway stations, killing a 22-year-old woman and injuring 14 other people, officials said.

Police said they were questioning one suspect in the explosions at Chennai railway station in the country's southeast, but there were no further details.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the attacks, saying "such barbaric acts targeting innocent men, women and children only highlight the desperation and cowardice of those responsible."

There was no immediate claim of responsibility in a region of India considered relatively peaceful.

Authorities suspect the blasts were caused by bombs planted on the Bangalore-Guwahati Express train, said M. Bhupati, the spokesman for India's southern railway system.

"The police are already on the job, they are investigating what kind of bomb it was and what was the purpose," R.K. Mishra, the general manager of Chennai Central Station, told reporters.

The blasts come amid heightened security nationwide for India's massive general election, which is being held in phases over several weeks.

At least one of the blasts erupted from underneath a seat where the 22-year-old victim was sitting, killing her, Mishra said. Fourteen people were hospitalized, but none of the injuries was serious, said G. Muthuraj, a spokesman for the Rajiv Gandhi General hospital in Chennai.

India has one of the world's largest railway networks, with more than 23 million passengers a day riding on about 11,000 trains. Every day, hundreds of thousands of commuters and long-distance passengers use the railway station in Chennai, one the country's busiest.

The train originated in Bangalore and was headed to Gauhati, the main city in the remote northeastern state of Assam.

K. Ramanujam, Tamil Nadu's director-general of police, said a special investigation team comprising forensic experts and police would investigate the blasts.

"It is premature to speculate what kind of device was used in the blast. The damage to the train is not heavy," Ramanujam said.

___

Associated Press writer Nirmala George contributed to this report from New Delhi.

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