SRINAGAR: Militants sent a chilling reminder to the new Union Territory (UT) administration on Monday. They lobbed a powerful grenade at Hari Singh High Street in Srinagar’s nerve centre of Lal Chowk, killing one civilian and injuring more than 30. Two are critically injured.

The incident occurred on the day when new Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu assumed office in the winter capital of Jammu as a part of the bi-annual Darbar move (half-yearly shifting of the official headquarters).

Eyewitnesses said the incident occurred in the afternoon when unknown militants appeared from a by-lane near the road. The grenade explosion injured over 30 civilians, including shoppers and roadside vendors. “We received 31 injured, of whom one succumbed to injuries. Two of the injured are critical,” said Dr Nazir Chaudhary, Medical Superintendent of Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital.

 

Police sources said the explosion occurred when the area was densely crowded with roadside vendors, shoppers and office goers. Panic gripped the area with people running helter-skelter for safety. Police and security forces immediately rushed to the spot and cordoned off the area to track down the militants responsible for the incident.

The area presented a look of a war-ravaged neighbourhood with roads painted red with blood and merchandise of the shoppers lying scattered. Cries and screams rent the air as the injured lay on the streets, bleeding. Local people immediately rushed to the spot and evacuated the wounded to the hospital for treatment.

VK Birdhi, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Central Kashmir Range, mentioned the militants’ targets were civilians. “Maximum injured is the local populace. Two of them are critical,” he said. Police registered a case, and a massive hunt has been launched to capture the militants responsible for the incident.

This is the fifth terror attack since October 12 in the Kashmir valley. On October 12, eight people were injured when militants lobbed a grenade at Hari Singh High Street in Srinagar. On October 23, a CRPF jawan suffered minor wounds in a grenade attack in Kulgam district of South Kashmir.

Three days later on October 26, militants threw a grenade on CRPF Naka party at Karan Nagar injuring six soldiers. Two days later on October 28, terror revisited the apple-rich town of Sopore when militants repeated their grenade tactics, wounding 14 civilians this time.

 

Ishfaq Ul Hassan

An accredited journalist with 22 years of professional experience, Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan has worked as a reporter based in Kashmir for two decades. He has covered various beats including militancy, politics, defence, minorities, social issues, religious groups and women issues in Kashmir. He had previously worked as Special Correspondent in Jammu and Kashmir for DNA (Daily News and Analysis) Newspaper for 13 years. Ishfaq is also associated with the New Delhi- based television company `Asia Pacific Communication Associates’ which produced the famous series “Subah-Bakhar-Kashmir” for satellite Kashmir channel of Doordarshan. In 2004, he was awarded the Charkha-Sanjoy Ghosh Fellowship for Peace and Development for his research on families divided across the LOC in Kashmir.

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