[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Monday, 13 December, 2004, 06:25 GMT
Two die in Colombo concert blast
Colombo blast scene
Most of the injured were members of the audience
At least two people have been killed and 18 others injured in an explosion at a concert by an Indian Bollywood star in Colombo.

Police said a hand-grenade ripped through the front stands as Shahrukh Khan ended his performance on Saturday.

Doctors said all the victims appeared to be members of the audience, most of them injured by shrapnel. The dead were said to be a journalist and a woman.

The Indian star and his troupe were unharmed and rushed home.

Buddhist Monks had objected to the event being staged on the anniversary of the death of a popular monk.

Their followers had earlier clashed near the venue with police who used teargas, water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse them.

Police said the grenade was detonated in the VIP section of the audience as the three-hour show was nearing its end.

Shahrukh Khan
Initially, not knowing what had happened, Shahrukh Khan continued until lights were switched off and he was escorted off the stage
The Sunday Times, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's The Sunday Times newspaper, which was one of the sponsors of the show, said Khan did not know what had happened.

"Initially, not knowing what had happened, Shahrukh Khan continued until lights were switched off and he was escorted off the stage," the newspaper said.

Event of the year

A Colombo hospital official told the Associated Press that two people were dead when they brought in.

"Five among the injured are in a critical condition, including an 11-year-old boy with a head injury," Anil Jayasinghe, a director at the Colombo National hospital, said.

Among the injured was the wife of former Indian cricketer, Ravi Shastri, an Indian government statement said.

Hospital officials said most of the victims were Sri Lankan nationals.

An investigation has been launched, but police have ruled out Tamil Tiger involvement.

"It's premature to speculate on possible suspects. We are working with an open mind and hope to talk to some of the eye witnesses as well as those who were wounded," police officer Sarath Lugoda told AFP.

A powerful Buddhist monk party in Sri Lanka has blamed "extremist elements" for the attack.

"The government should take responsibility for the security breach that couldn't have happened unless with the patronage of high-level authorities," monk Omalpe Sobitha told reporters.

The show, called Temptation 2004 and featuring a host of Indian film stars, was billed as Sri Lanka's biggest musical event of the year, with 10,000 people reported to have attended.

Apology

Buddhist monks had planned a peaceful protest during the performance, but they called it off after receiving a written apology from Mr Khan about the bad timing of the concert.

The monks are a powerful force in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka.

Mr Khan began his concert by observing a minute's silence in memory of monk Gangodawila Soma who died a year ago.

The concert went ahead under tight security, with fans searched at four points before being allowed into the venue.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Police break up protests against the show




PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific