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  • Indian soldiers examine the debris after an explosion in Lethpora in south Kashmir's Pulwama district.

    Indian soldiers examine the debris after an explosion in Lethpora in south Kashmir's Pulwama district. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 February 2019

A car fitted with explosives drove into a bus carrying paramilitary forces in Awantipora, in Indian-administered Kashmir.

A bomb blast killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in India-controlled Kashmir Thursday, police said, a day after an explosion wounded a dozen schoolchildren in the state.

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The Indian-ruled part of Kashmir has been plagued by violence for years, with clashes between security forces and militants killing more than 100 civilians over the past year.

Religious extremist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) took responsibility for the attack, local news agency GNS said. 

JeM was formed in 2000 by Masood Azhar after his release from prison in India based in Pakistan. The 19-year-old group aims to unite Kashmir with Pakistan.

The explosion was heard from several miles away. Mohammad Yunis, a journalist who reached the site minutes after the explosion, told Reuters he saw blood and body parts scattered along a 100-metre stretch on the highway.

Kashmir's Police Chief S.P. Pani said the Central Reserve Police Force had suffered major damage.

"It is a terror incident and we are looking into the possibility of what led to the blast. he said. “We are going to go for post blast investigation."

At least 12 students were injured in another explosion at a school in Kashmir Wednesday, police said, though the cause of the blast was not immediately clear.

Insurgency rose in Kashmir in 1987 after an election held in the India-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, strengthened the standing of the pro-independence insurgency. The election by the Indian government, said to have been rigged, led to a series of protests which resulted in the Indian army's deployment in Kashmir in 1989.

Since the 1990s, Indian troops have greatly increased military attacks on the insurgencies.

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