SRINAGAR – A non-local vendor from Uttar Pradesh was killed and about 42 persons were injured, including four critically, in a grenade attack in uptown Srinagar on Monday afternoon.
This is the fourth grenade attack in the city during the last over a month and first since Union Territories (UTs) of J&K and Ladakh officially came into existence on October 31.
The grenade was lobbed in the Gonikhan market located in the heart of the city which was crowded with shoppers and street vendors. The attack took place almost three months after the Centre revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.
This is the second grenade attack in less than a month in Srinagar.
The 42 injured, including three security personnel, were rushed to the nearby SMHS hospital where the condition of two is stated to be critical, officials said.
The person killed has been identified as 40-year-old Rinku Singh, a resident of Saharanpur (UP), they said. As per eye-witnesses, Rinku was selling toys at the Gonikhan crossing.
Police said the militants who lobbed the grenade managed to escape during the chaos created due to the blast.
“Security forces have established checkpoint within 5 km radius of the attack site and are conducting searches of vehicles, particularly two-wheelers, before allowing them to move forward,” they added.
On October 12, a similar attack had left five people injured in the same area.
Six CRPF jawans were injured in a grenade attack by militants at a security force post at Karan Nagar in Srinagar on October 27. Three civilians were injured in grenade attack in HSHS on October 12. On September 28, militants hurled a grenade at CRPF post in Nawakadal in downtown, Srinagar. However, no one was injured in that attack.
Militants have stepped up grenade attacks in the valley since August 5, when centre scrapped Article 370 and Article 35 A, besides divided the state into two UTs.
Traffic was scarce in the city with the capital shifting to Jammu for the winter.
On Monday, almost three months to the day, normal life remained disturbed. Shops and other business establishments opened early in the morning but downed their shutters around 12 noon due to fewer customers following shifting of the capital to Jammu as part of bi-annual ‘Durbar move’, officials said.
While public transport was off the roads in most parts of the Valley, the movement of private vehicles in the city was less than usual as a large number of government employees have shifted base to Jammu.
A large number of roadside vendors set up their stalls on the TRC crossing-Batamaloo axis in the city but the number of customers was less, the officials said.
Efforts of the state government to open schools have not borne any fruit as parents continue to keep the children at home due to apprehensions about their safety. However, board examinations for Classes 10 and 12 are going on according to schedule.
Landline and postpaid mobile phone services have been restored across the valley, but all internet services continue to remain suspended since August 5.
Most top level and second rung separatist politicians have been taken into preventive custody while mainstream leaders including two former chief ministers — Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — have been either detained or placed under house arrest.
The government has detained Farooq Abdullah, former chief minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar, under the controversial Public Safety Act, a law enacted by his father and National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1978 when he was chief minister.
2 tourists injured in stone pelting in city
Two tourists were on Monday evening injured in stone pelting incident in Srinagar outskirts, an official said.
He said miscreant pelted stones at vehicles at Parimpora in city outskirts on Monday evening. “A vehicle, ferrying tourists from world famous ski resort of Gulmarg to Srinagar, was hit by a stone, resulting in injuries to two tourists,” they said.
The injured were immediately taken to a hospital, where there health condition is stated to be stable. “Police has registered a case and initiated investigation to nab the miscreants,” they added. An official identified the injured tourists as Nivesh Shah from Gujarat and Hayati from Mumbai.