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Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times
Srinagar, December 28, 2012
Six months after four tourists were killed in a suspected cylinder blast in south Kashmir's Pulwama district, the police on Friday claimed it was indeed a grenade attack by militants.

The police claim the Lashkar-e-Toiba militant, Imtiyaz Ahmed Teli alias Fahadullah Kashmiri, a resident of Pulwama, and his other local associate were behind the Bijbehara attack, which left four women tourists dead.

On July 28, 55 km south of Srinagar, a stationed tourist vehicle experienced a blast inside it at Bijbehara town. The police statement, however, ruled out any militant attack on that day.

"Today (July 28), a cylinder exploded in a vehicle, bearing registration number JK02AP/0676 and which was on way from Srinagar to Pahalgam, at Zuripora (Anantnag), falling under the jurisdiction of police station Bijbehara, in which six passengers were injured, of whom two died," said the then police statement.

Two other injured tourists later died in the hospital.

However, after the encounter in south Kashmir's Pulwama district was over on Friday, the police statement claimed that the two militants killed had hurled a grenade inside the tourist vehicle earlier this year.

Inspector general of police SM Sahai said, "The slain militants were involved in the grenade attack in Bijbehara in which four women tourists were killed in July this year," said Sahai.

Sahai clarified that though it seemed to be a gas cylinder blast at that time. "However, after forensic examinations and other investigations it was termed as a grenade attack," he said.

However, all along the six months since the incident, the police never referred to the blast as a militant attack.

The attack had come when Kashmir was experiencing heightened tourism activity.