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One killed, 17 hurt in J&K blast

No militant group has claimed responsibility for the explosion, the first in several months, which took place near Jehangir Chowk, reports Rashid Ahmad.
Hindustan Times | By Rashid Ahmad, Srinagar
UPDATED ON MAR 20, 2008 04:16 AM IST

The lull in terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir was shattered on Wednesday when a blast rocked the summer capital city’s busiest point, the Jahangir Chowk. One person was killed and 17 were injured in the blast.

The blast ripped off a concrete portion of the flyover, which fell on some cars parked beneath it, killing one Abdul Hamid Bhat of Chadura area.

Immediately after the blast, a caller identifying himself as a spokesperson of Al Madina, a shadow outfit of Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Tayyeba, claimed responsibility for the attack. Minutes later, another outfit Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) made similar claims. Claiming responsibility, the Hizbul Mujahideen said it carried out the improvised explosive device (IED) blast in retaliation to the killing of a top commander of the outfit.

The CRPF and the army, had in a joint operation, shot dead the top commander, Chota Jahangir, at Awantipora on Tuesday. Jahangir was known as a master IED bomb-maker in militant circles.

The blast occurred on a flyover overlooking the High Court and the civil secretariat at 5.50 pm. It damaged the flyover and several vehicles. While Senior Superintendent of Police Afhad-Ul-Mujtaba said 11 persons were injured, a statement issued from zonal headquarters of police said 17 were injured. Eyewitnesses put the figure at 20. Police have picked up a youth for questioning.

The blast came as a serious embarrassment for the authorities as it took place near the highest seat of power, the civil secretariat, which houses the office of the CM and his cabinet colleagues. The secretariat is closed these days as the offices have moved to Jammu for the winter.

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