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Kashmir attack: 2 killed, 30 injured as grenade hurled at minister’s motorcade

Terrorists open fire after lobbing a grenade at a bus stop. Senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar, whose motorcade was passing through the area, is safe.

india Updated: Sep 21, 2017 19:27 IST
Abhishek Saha
Abhishek Saha
Srinagar, Hindustan Times
Pulwama,Kashmir militancy,Tral gernade attack
Policemen stand guard during a search operation in Srinagar after three militants were killed in a gunfight with security forces in Tral. (Waseem Andrabi /HT File Photo)

Two people were killed and at least 30 others were injured, including security personnel, after suspected militants lobbed a grenade towards a motorcade, which included the vehicles of several dignitaries including a senior state minister, in south Kashmir’s Tral town on Thursday afternoon.

“Today in the afternoon, terrorists hurled a grenade at a bus stand in Tral, under the jurisdiction of police station Tral in Awantipora, resulting in on the spot death of two innocent civilians,” a police spokesperson said in a statement.

The dead were identified by the police as a woman, Pinky Kour, and a senior citizen Ghulam Nabi Trag while the injured included seven CRPF jawans, two policemen and 21 civilians. Two government engineers were also among the injured.

Senior People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader and public works minister Naeem Akhtar escaped unhurt. He was travelling to review and inaugurate certain development projects.

“Yes, I was travelling through the area. I am fine,” Akhtar confirmed to Hindustan Times soon after the accident. He tweeted that he survived an attack on his motorcade and felt sad for the lives lost.

Reports said the minister broke down while addressing a presser in Tral after the incident and told media-persons that the attacker was neither a friend of Kashmir nor Islam.

Akhtar told a television channel that the attack was to subvert his outreach programme towards people and the mission of taking governance to the people.

In a statement, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti strongly condemned the attack. “It is unfortunate that the attack took place when a minister had gone to the town to assess the development needs of the area which has remained neglected for decades,” she said.

On its official Twitter handle, the PDP called the killings “dastardly and cowardly act”.

“Such terror acts have only resulted in destruction here. Our deepest sympathies with the families of Tral terror attack victims. Nothing can justify the killing of civilians by such terror acts nor will it achieve any political goals,” it said.

Opposition National Conference’s leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah too condemned the attacks. He tweeted: “Condemn this militant attack. Glad Naeem Akhtar Sb is safe & well. My sympathies to families of the deceased & prayers for the injured.”

Locals have alleged that security forces had indiscriminately fired on the crowd after the attack, but police have denied it. Some wrote on social media about forces firing pellets on people, too.

Police said in a statement that no pellets were fired. It added that a few shots were fired in air to prevent any further attack and that the forces showed maximum restrain during the incident.

Dr Gobinder Singh, block medical officer, Tral, said most of the injured had splinter wounds caused from the grenade, and not pellets injuries.

Pulwama district in south Kashmir is one of the epicentres of Kashmir’s new age militancy and Tral is the hometown of slain Hizbul Mujahedeen commanders Burhan Wani and Sabzar Bhat. South Kashmir was also the region where last year’s summer unrest in the Valley witnessed its peak.

First Published: Sep 21, 2017 12:49 IST