A grenade blast took place near the Nigeen residence of Mirwaiz Ummer Farooq in Srinagar. No casualty was caused however. The interior parts of the capital city, where Mirwaiz has substantial influence, has erupted in protest against what they called attack on Mirwaiz.
The protestors pelted stones on plying vehicles, forcing and shutdown in several parts of the city. They also raised slogans against Syed Ali Geelani, chairman of rival faction of Hurriyat Conference, alleging that the attack was carried at his instance.
Geelani, however, has denied the charge and condemned the attack.
Sources said that the grenade was lobbed from some unknown direction at 12.15pm, which hit the outer-wall of a house, where security guards of the Mirwaiz put up. It is believed that the explosive has been fired by a rifle, which exploded without causing any damage.
Sources said that senior police officers have rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation and ascertain the facts regarding the blast. “We are just investigating the intention and target of the assailants”, said a middle-rung police officer on the spot.
Mirwaiz was not at his residence when the blast took place. He is presently in Jammu. He would visit Pakistan, along with two other leaders of his faction Professor Abdul Gani Bhat and Bilal Gani Lone, on January 18. The Hurriyat leaders have expressed desire to meet Prime Minister Dr Mamohan Singh before their Pakistan visit. But the PMO is yet to respond their request. The amalgam leaders claim that their Pakistan visit is aimed at finding a peaceful and negotiable solution to the issue of Kashmir.
Their Pakistan visit has generated severe resentment from hard-line faction of the Hurriyat Conference. The faction, led by Syed Ali Geelani, has called for a general shutdown on January 17 on both sides of the LOC against their visit accusing them of “hobnobbing with New Delhi and Islamabad against the freedom struggle of Kashmiri people”.
As the news of attack on Mirwaiz’s residence spread, his supporters came out on streets and held protest demonstrations, and shouted slogans against Geelain. The protests disrupted the normal life at Rajouri Kadal, Nawakadal, Hazratbal, Hawal, Nowhatta, Bohri Kadal and some other parts in the old city where Mirwaiz has strong following.