Shadow over J&K festivities
The festive atmosphere in the state turned morbid on Thursday as militants struck in different parts, leaving 10 people dead. Six soldiers and two civilians were killed and five soldiers injured in a blast at an army camp in Baramulla while two soldiers were killed in a clash elsewhere in the same district. The police and army, in turn, shot dead two militants in Bandipora even as an operation is currently on to flush out two militants holed up inside the Hotel Duke near Nehru Park here.
Hours before the three-day ceasefire called by the United Jihad Council, two militants tossed a hand grenade at the hotel’s main gate, which houses the CRPF’s 144th battalion, a km away from the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre, where the chief minister was holding an Iftaar party. A CRPF spokesperson said the militants later rushed inside the hotel and are holed up there. Initial reports said three CRPF troopers had been hurt in the attack.
Police and CRPF have been deployed in strength in the area and traffic on Boulevard road has been suspended. No militant group has claimed responsibility so far.