Three siblings were killed when a missile shell exploded on Sunday at their home in Bandipora, which had seen an encounter between militants and police in October last year.
The children belonged to a family that deals in scrap and lives in a one-room apartment. Chief minister Omar Abdullah expressed shock at the tragedy on Monday even as the government is clueless about how live shells reached their house. So is the victims’ father, Muhammad Maqbool Bhat.
“We are investigating how the bomb reached the house and an FIR has been lodged in the case,” divisional commissioner Asgar Samoon said.
Around 8:30 pm on Sunday at a place 15 km from Srinagar, Noor Muhammad Bhat, 14, tried to hammer an unexploded shell, mistaking it for used ammunition. The shell exploded, killing Noor and his sister Bisma, 11, on the spot. Their sister, Muskaan, 4, succumbed to injuries at a hospital on Monday.
“She had suffered multiple injuries and was operated upon. However, during the intervening night, she succumbed,” SKIMS hospital medical superintendent Syed Amin Tabish said.
The mother and another daughter are battling for life in two different hospitals in Srinagar. Police suspect the children might have picked up the explosives from the riverbed near the encounter site.
On October 21 last year, there was an encounter between Lashkar-e-Tayyeba militants and security forces in the area. The government has announced a job for Muhammad Maqbool Bhat’s lone surviving son, Ashiq Hussain Bhat.