NEW DELHI – Bombs exploded inside two movie theaters showing a controversial Hindi-language film in the Indian capital on Sunday, killing at least one person and injuring dozens, officials said.
Both theaters are in the western Karol Bagh (search) neighborhood and the explosions occurred 15 minutes apart, junior Home Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said.
At the time of the explosions, both theaters were showing the movie "Jo Bole So Nihal," a Hindi-language film that has been condemned by Sikh (search) religious leaders for denigrating their faith by depicting a Sikh character being chased by scantily clad women.
Police declined to comment on whether any Sikh group was suspected of involvement in the blasts.
Authorities began evacuating theaters in other parts of the city after the blasts and security forces in the capital were put on high alert. The two theaters were cordoned off by police and firefighters.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (search) called an emergency meeting of the Cabinet to assess the situation and security was tightened in the neighboring Sikh populated state of Punjab
At least 43 people were injured in the first blast at the Liberty Cinema around 8:30 p.m., according to a list posted by police outside the theater. One of the injured died later at a hospital, police commissioner K.K. Paul said.
The explosive in the first blast was planted under a seat in the front rows, Chief Fire Officer R.C. Sharma said. About 15 minutes later, a bomb went off in the bathroom of the nearby Satyam Cinema, wounding at least seven people, Sharma said.
The film, whose title means "anyone who calls out to God will be blessed," was released more than a week ago, but it was pulled from most theaters shortly afterward in northern India after Sikh groups demanded a ban on it. They were angered by its title and scenes depicting a Sikh character being chased by scantily clad women.
The highest decision-making body of the Sikh religion said the title misused a popular term only spoken in Sikh temples or on the battlefield by Sikh warriors.
Sikh leader Jagir Kaur told a local television station that some miscreants might have planned the explosions in a bid to defame the community.
Founded in the 15th century by Guru Nanak, Sikhism broke away from Hinduism and Islam, the main religions of India. Sikhism rejects idol worship and caste and has about 20 million followers, most of whom live in India and make up nearly 2 percent of the country's 1 billion people.