A sniffer dog and police personnel at Thursday’s grenade blast site in Jammu.(Nitin Kanotra / Hindustan Times)
A sniffer dog and police personnel at Thursday’s grenade blast site in Jammu.(Nitin Kanotra / Hindustan Times)

Third grenade attack in a year at Jammu bus stand kills teen

A person linked to the Hizbul Mujahideen terror group hurled a grenade at a busy bus stand in Jammu on Thursday, killing a teenager and injuring at least 30 people in third attack at the same facility within 10 months, police said.
By HT Correspondent | Jammu
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2019 09:55 PM IST

A person linked to the Hizbul Mujahideen terror group hurled a grenade at a busy bus stand in Jammu on Thursday, killing a teenager and injuring at least 30 people in third attack at the same facility within 10 months, police said.

The attack comes at a time when the state of Jammu & Kashmir is on high alert after the suicide bombing of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in south Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14 in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed by a terrorist linked with the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), leading to military action by the two countries.

Police said the person, a resident of Kulgam in Kashmir, was arrested for carrying out the grenade attack. He was working under the instruction of Hizbul commander Farooq Ahmad Bhat, alias Umar, police officials added.

Seventeen-year-old Mohammed Shariq, a resident of Haridwar in Uttarakhand, succumbed to his injuries in hospital after suffering splinter wounds in his chest. The condition of three to four other people is critical, police and health officials said.

A person linked to the Hizbul Mujahideen terror group hurled a grenade at a busy bus stand in Jammu on Thursday, killing a teenager and injuring at least 30 people in third attack at the same facility within 10 months, police said.

The attack comes at a time when the state of Jammu & Kashmir is on high alert after the suicide bombing of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in south Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14 in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed by a terrorist linked with the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), leading to military action by the two countries.

Police said that the arrested person was working under the instructions of Hizbul commander Farooq Ahmad Bhat, alias Umar, police officials added. Seventeen-year-old Mohammed Shariq, a resident of Haridwar in Uttarakhand, succumbed to his injuries in hospital after suffering splinter wounds in his chest.

The condition of three to four other people is critical, police and health officials said.

Jammu deputy commissioner Ramesh Kumar said: “Eleven of those injured belong to Kashmir and eight to Jammu, two are from Bihar, one is from Chhattisgarh and the remaining from other states.”

Such was the impact of the explosion that windscreens of three to four buses were shattered, said Rakesh Kumar, an eyewitness. “You could see blood on the spot. There was total chaos,” he said.

A parked bus of the state road transport corporation (SRTC) suffered extensive damage. Shariq, who died in the blast, had gone to Jammu a day ago to learn tailoring work from a relative, his family members and police said.

MK Sinha, the inspector general of police in Jammu, said the alleged attacker, reached Jammu carrying the grenade on Thursday morning. After the attack, he was arrested by the police at Nagrota on the outskirts of the city in a “major breakthrough”, Sinha said.

He added that forensic experts and sniffer dogs were sent to the spot, and a search operation was launched. “The teams that were constituted tried assessing from the witnesses as to what they have seen, and the recordings of CCTV camera installed in the area were also seized,” he said.

“Based on the oral testimony of the eye-witnesses and the CCTV coverage, we were able to identity a suspect who was wearing jean jackets and carrying a red rucksack,” he said.

Sinha said the police were questioning the suspect in the Jammu attack. “What was his specific target and motive behind the grenade attack at the bus stand would emerge once the questioning is complete,” he said. “Obviously the intention is always to disturb the communal harmony and peace,” he said, requesting people to maintain calm.

The officer said there was no specific input about such an attack, which took place within three weeks of the Pulwama suicide attack.

On the night of December 28, suspected terrorists hurled a grenade at a police station adjoining the bus stand. No one was injured in that attack. In May 2018, three policemen and a civilian were wounded in a similar grenade attack on the bus stand. The accused were arrested.

After Thursday’s attack, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Tragic. May the deceased’s soul rest in peace. Another family irreversibly impacted by the scourge of terrorism & violence in J&K.”

Another ex-CM and Peoples Democratic Party leader, Mehbooba Mufti, tweeted, “I condemn this act of terror in the strongest possible terms. My prayers for speedy recovery of those injured. The perpetrators are out there to inflict pain and divide us. Our unity has to be our tool to defeat them.”

(With agency inputs)

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