updated 12/11/2004 6:53:54 PM ET 2004-12-11T23:53:54

grenade exploded at a concert of Indian movie stars and entertainers in Sri Lanka’s capital Saturday, killing at least two people and injuring 15, officials said.

The grenade was thrown at the crowd as the three-hour show was nearing its end, military spokesman Brig. Daya Ratnayake said. A man identified as a journalist for a local newspaper and a woman were killed, he said.

Audience members first mistook the explosion as part of a fireworks show accompanying the concert until they saw people bleeding, a doctor at Colombo’s national hospital told the Press Trust of India.

At least 12 of the injured were admitted to a hospital with shrapnel injuries cause by a hand grenade or small bomb, Press Trust reported.

The Indian entertainers were unhurt, officials said. The show, titled “Temptation 2004,” featured Indian stars Shahrukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Javed Khan and Celina Jaitly.

Protesters targeted concert
Earlier, police used tear gas to break up a protest by about 200 Buddhists who tried to prevent the concert, held a day before the anniversary of the death of a leading Buddhist cleric.

Sunday is the first anniversary of the death of Gangodawila Soma — a popular preacher who campaigned against conversions of Buddhists by Christians. Monks are a powerful political force in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka.

Earlier Saturday, concert organizers met a group of monks and offered an apology for the event’s timing, which the clergy accepted. But the monks’ lay supporters protested the decision, accusing the monks of betrayal.

It was unclear whether the grenade explosion was related to the monks’ protest.


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