Suspected militants struck at two places in Srinagar and north Kashmir's Baramulla district on Thursday killing a civilian, a BSF constable and injuring at least a dozen people. The civilian death has come under severe criticism from a leading civil society body, which urged militants to abide by the United Jehad Council (UJC) promise not to launch attacks at public places.
First grenade attack occurred at a busy market in north Kashmir's Baramulla town, 57 km north of Srinagar, around 12.30 pm. "A BSF patrol had gone to a congested market in the town to purchase daily ration items. While two personnel were buying grocery, three were standing inside a narrow lane adjacent to the shop. The three men in the lane were attacked with a grenade by the militants," superintendent of police Haseeb Moghul told the Hindustan Times.
BSF head constable U Haldar injured in the blast succumbed to his injuries on the way to hospital. A civilian, identified as Abdul Ghani Gojri and a salesman by profession, also lost his life in the attack. "The civilian was at the mouth of the lane when he was hit by the grenade splinters," said Moghul. Another BSF constable and a civilian injured in the attack were hospitalized and are stable.
Thursday's blast was first militant attack after more than one and a half year in Baramulla town. "Militants are under pressure and on the run. It seems handiwork of over-ground workers to show their presence," said Moghul.
The police claim Baramulla district with 15 lakh souls has only 5-6 militants right now.
In Srinagar, another grenade was lobbed at a security picket in a busy market near Batamaloo, just one kilometer from civil secretariat, in the afternoon.
"The grenade aimed at a security picket fell on the road and exploded injuring at least eight civilians," said DIG central Kashmir A G Mir. The injured were immediately shifted to Srinagar's two main hospitals - Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital and Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences. One person, identified as Ghulam Nabi Bhat, a resident of Parimpora, is in critical condition. No militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the blasts.
J&K Coalition of Civil (CCS) Society expressed concern over the blasts at market places and fatalities to civilians. "We want to remind the United Jehad Council of their written promises not to attack at busy market places. The Hizbul Mujahideen in the past had banned grenade attacks at public places. The civilian losses are condemnable," said CCS spokesman Khuram Pervez.
Thursday's attacks, breaking a Ramzan lull in the valley, has come just a day after New Delhi revised its estimates regarding the number of militants preparing to sneak into Jammu and Kashmir.
"There are reports that around 2,500 fully trained Kashmiri militants are ready to infiltrate into J&K from across the border," minister of state for home Jitendra Singh told Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.