Terrorists take onus of Kashmir ammunition depot fire
Two guerrilla outfits claim responsibility for the fire at an Indian army ordinance depot in south Kashmir that injured 35 people including soldiers.Updated: Aug 11, 2007 19:02 IST
Two guerrilla outfits have claimed responsibility for the fire at an Indian army ordinance depot in south Kashmir that injured 35 people including soldiers, though the army says the fire was caused by an accident.
Spokesmen of Hizbul Mujahideen and Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen terrorist outfits called Srinagar based news agencies claiming they had blasted the Khandroo Field Ordnance Depot.
The Jamiat spokesman claimed that their commander Tufail Afgani was leading the operation. Afghani has been "awarded" Rs 500,000 for the "successful mission", he told Urdu news agencies in Srinagar.
However, defence spokesman Lt Col VK Mathur has denied the guerrilla claims, saying the fire was accidental and was being investigated.
The explosion at the ordinance depot, 67 km from Srinagar, sent shells and splinters flying over nearby villages. The depot is located inside a heavily guarded army camp.
The injured include some villagers and fire fighting personnel.
"We have evacuated many people from around the camp area as a precaution. Efforts are continuing to control the fire," Hemant Lohia, the deputy inspector general of police south Kashmir range, told IANS in srinagar.
The army has also evacuated its personnel and family members from inside the camp area.
"Massive efforts are continuing to control the blaze," Mathur said.
The explosions and fire led to panic in the villages. "There was a big bang followed by a series of blasts. We ran into our homes," a local resident, Abdul Rashid, said over telephone.
Senior army, police and paramilitary officers have reached the spot.
"We have ordered evacuation of the local population in a six-sq km radius. This is temporary. The villagers will return to their homes once the fire is controlled," a government official said here.
The injured have been taken to the hospital.
First Published: Aug 11, 2007 18:46 IST