A female bomber blew herself up and killed a police officer outside a court in the Indian state of Bihar Friday as part of an escape bid by two murder suspects who are now on the run, police said.
More than a dozen people were also injured in the explosion in Bihar's Bhojpur district which occurred amid a general heightened state of alert in India ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama which begins on Sunday.
A senior police officer said that there was no reason to suspect the explosion in the eastern state was the work of militant groups and it was thought the device went off prematurely.
"The blast happened at 11:30 am (0600 GMT) at the civil court when a woman suspected of carrying a bomb exploded. The woman and a police constable died on the spot," Amrendra Kumar Ambedkar, inspector general of police, told AFP.
"One policewoman is in a critical condition, along with 16 other people," he added by phone from the state capital Patna.
Ambedkar said two prisoners, who were attending a hearing, had managed to escape after the explosion, adding that both men had staged unsuccessful attempts to escape while in pre-trial detention.
"The two prisoners escaped following the blast. We suspect the blast was carried out to free them," he said.
"As of now we don't see any terror angle."
Indian security forces have been on a general heightened state of alert ahead of the three-day visit by Obama who is due to spend time in the capital New Delhi and the northern city of Agra, home to the Taj Mahal.