HYDERABAD, India (AP) - A passenger set a bus on fire early
Wednesday morning, killing himself and at least 12 others in
southern India, police said.
The death toll rose to 13 after five people succumbed to burn
injuries later at a hospital, police officer Ranga Prasad Rao told
The Associated Press.
Eight of the victims, including the passenger who caused the
fire, died at the scene, near the town of Kodandapuram, 180
kilometers (110 miles) south of Hyderabad, capital of southern
Andhra Pradesh state.
Another 17 people, who suffered severe burn injuries, were being
treated at a hospital in the nearby town of Kurnool. Hospital
authorities said some of the victims had burns over more than 80
percent of their bodies.
The motive behind the crime was not yet known, but police ruled
out any possibility of the incident being tied to the Tuesday
storming of a Hindu temple by gunmen in the western city of
Gandhinagar, in which 32 people were killed.
"This area doesn't have any record of Hindu-Muslim violence.
Moreover, the bus had passengers from all religions," a senior
police officer said on condition of anonymity.
The driver of the bus said a passenger spilled either gasoline
or kerosene on the floor of the bus. As the woman sitting next to
him tried to stop him, calling out for help, he struck a match.
"She screamed to stop the bus and I immediately put on the
brakes. But, the bus was already engulfed in the flames," said the
driver, Ali, who goes by one name.
Most of the 35 passengers were asleep, as the fire was set
shortly after midnight.
Only three passengers escaped unhurt and two passengers,
suffering minor injuries, were discharged by doctors.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press