Grenades Galore: Tower Terror Comes to Capital?

SRINAGAR: A day after Hizbul Mujahidin distanced itself from Lashkar-e-Islam outfit which was responsible for attacks on telecom towers in North Kashmir early this year, unknown militants struck in Srinagar on Friday targeting four places in quick succession with hand grenades.
Grenades were lobed at two telecom outlets in the city’s Karan Nagar area while at Shaheed Gunj and Wazirbagh premises housing telecom towers were attacked with the hand grenades.
Police said at around 11 A.M two youth forced everyone out of Aircell showrooms at Karan Nagar before throwing a grenade in, and that minutes later a similar incident happened at another shop, though there were no casualties. 
Both attacks happened less than 300 metres from the heavily guarded Police headquarters.
The owner of the Aircel Showroom at Karan Nagar said that at the time of grenade blast there were two employees Gowhar Ahmed and Faisal Ahmed present in the showroom. “Faisal had gone to washroom while Gowhar was busy in cleaning office, when suddenly a person entered into wash room and dragged Gowhar outside. Soon after a blast was heard and the person fled from the spot,” he said adding that he doesn’t know how many persons were accompanying the youth who hurled grenade inside the showroom. 
About 500 metres from the spot, the second attack was carried out in a similar fashion. Militants targeted a Vodafone showroom this time. A Santro vehicle (JK01P-8689) parked outside the showroom was damaged in the attack. A police official said that these were low intensity blasts.
There were no injuries in the two incidents that shook the area and sparked panic among traders and passersby.
Hours after attacking Vodafone and Aircell showrooms, the suspected militants attacked a BSNL mobile telecommunication tower at Shaheed Gunj locality, which is half-a-kilometer from Karan Nagar, in which one non-local painter was injured.
Labourer, Muhammad Fayik hailing from Bihar received minor wounds in the leg. He is alright,” said police.
In the fourth attack of the day, militants targeted an Airtel tower at Wazir Bagh area of the city with a grenade. The tower is installed in the house of Abdul Rahim Wani and in the attack, his Alto car was damaged.
Though no one has claimed responsibility for the series of attacks in the city police sources point towards breakaway Hizbul Mujahideen faction, Lashkar-e-Islam.
The series of attacks in summer capital created fear among the employees and retailers of cellular companies with many downing their shutters.
Reports from North Kashmir said employees fled from the cellular outlets forcing the owners to close the showroom in Pattan and Baramulla towns. Pertinently, the cellular outlets in North Kashmir’s Sopore town have remained closed after a series of attacks in the town some two months back.
Friday’s attack came a day after the Pakistan-headquartered  Hizbul Mujahideen expelled one of its top Kashmiri commanders, Abdul Qayoom Najar, for carrying out attacks on telecom companies in May.
The attacks on the telecommunications firms started two months ago when Lashkar-e-Islam, put up posters in  Sopore town, urging all telecom providers to end operations.
Attacks followed on telecom businesses and people associated with the trade with six civilians being killed at point-blank range in the space of a week, including close associates of senior leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
After an internal inquiry, Hizbul Mujahideen expelled one of its most senior commanders and operations head in North Kashmir, Najar, from the outfit. In its statement, the group hinted that the Lashkar-e-Islam outfit was a brainchild of Najar.
“The report submitted by the inquiry commission has proved that Qayoom Najar in an utter disregard to the Hizb leadership violated the constitution of the outfit and carried out condemnable acts which our constitution does not allow or permit,” the group’s spokesperson Saleem Hashmi said on Thursday. “Such anti-people activities always prove counterproductive for the freedom movement and advertently or inadvertently such acts help the anti-movement elements.”
Najar, who joined the militancy as a 16-year-old in 1995, is one of longest surviving active militants in Kashmir.
According to the Indian police, 10 to 15 militants under the leadership of Najar had rebelled against the Hizbul Mujahideen’s command and acted on their own, after differences with the Muzaffarad-based chief Syed Salah-ud-din.

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