Grenade Blast Kills 4 in Hindu Temple

Gauhati, India - A grenade exploded in a Hindu temple in northeast India Wednesday, killing at least four people and leaving 40 others injured, mainly in a stampede that followed the blast, police said.

The attack in Imphal, the capital of Manipur state, came during a major Hindu festival _ the birthday of the god Krishna, said police officer Kasim Ali.

The injured included an American and three other foreign nationals, an army officer said on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to talk to reporters. No other details were immediately available.

The violence at the temple, owned by the International Society of Krishna Consciousness, came despite tight police and paramilitary security in and around the temple where hundreds of Hindus congregated for the festival.

Army spokesman Col. S.D. Goswami said whoever detonated the explosive apparently escaped in the chaos that followed. He did not provide any other details on suspects or how the attack was carried out, and there was no claim of responsibility.

Dozens of insurgencies have festered for years across Manipur and several other northeastern states. Nearly all are fighting for autonomy or independent homelands for the region's indigenous peoples, most of them ethnically closer to Burma and China than to the rest of India.

The militants say the central government in New Delhi _ 1,000 miles to the west _ exploits the northeast's rich natural resources while doing little to improve its poor infrastructure and alleviate widespread unemployment.