5 children among 6 killed in 2 blasts
31 January 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Six persons including five children were killed and five others were seriously injured in two powerful explosions in Reasi town and Battal village in Udhampur district late this evening. Three civilians including two infants were killed when a terrorist tossed a grenade on a group of labourers from Chattisgarh at Reasi Bus Stand in the heart of town late this evening while three Gujjar boys were killed and a girl was injured in a grenade blast at village Battal. Two parked vehicles and about half a dozen shops were damaged in the explosion at Reasi Bus Stand that took place at 1935 hours sending a wave of panic in the town. Three civilians including two infants were killed on spot and five others were seriously injured in the Reasi blast, police said, adding condition of the one injured was also stated to be serious. They said a lone terrorist threw a grenade on the group of labourers when they were busy in cooking food in a corner of the Bus Stand, where the labourers used to stay put during the night after day’s work. The grenade fell on target and exploded with a big bang. Splinters of the grenade explosion flew in the air and fell on the adjoining shops and the vehicles parked in Bus Stand. Two vehicles suffered extensive damage while six shops suffered partial damage in the blast. Several houses and shops were rattled under impact of the explosion. Police and para-military personnel rushed to the scene of blast and cordoned off the area. The victims were rushed to the sub district hospital here where three of them were declared dead. Five injured were referred to the Medical College hospital in Jammu after first-aid in the hospital. Doctors in the Medical College said that one injured was kept under observation while four others were stable. A search operation was carried out for the terrorist but he remained untraced. Police said the terrorist managed to escape in the melee after triggering the blast with a grenade attack. Few suspects have, however, been detained by police for questioning in connection with the blast and reach to the accused. Deceased persons have been identified as Girdhari Lal, 25, son of Ayodhya Lal and his two nephews Suraj, 2 and Harvind, 4 and the injured as Bhagi Ram, 35, son of Ayodhya Lal, Gianvati, 30, wife of Bhagi Ram, Mohan Lal son of Chur Mani, Babblu, 18 and Chatta Lal, 17. All dead and injured hailed from Chhatisgarh State. Meanwhile, a group of four Gujjar children saw a grenade while playing in a field at village Battal in Udhampur district this evening. They fiddled with the grenade resulting into an explosion, the sources said. They said three Gujjar boys were killed on spot in the blast while a girl was critically wounded. Police teams rushed to spot and shifted the injured girl to the district hospital. Her condition was too stated to be serious. Boys killed in the blast have been identified as Mohd Qayoom, 10, Showkat Ali, 9 and Sahad Mohd, 2. The injured girl was identified as 10-year old Shameema. All of them were residents of Battal. Searches have also been launched in Battal as police anticipated presence of the terrorists in the village. The blast at Reasi Bus Stand was the first major subversive activity in the otherwise peaceful town. Prior to today’s explosion, a couple of grenade attacks had taken place in the town but they had failed to cause any casualties. Police admitted presence of the terrorists in the hilly areas of Reasi but they generally refrained from striking in the town. Police suspected that the terrorist might have descended from a hill to carry out the strike. However, possibility of the ultra getting shelter on peripheries of the town was also not ruled out. They said the searches would be intensified in the town tomorrow morning. Panic as well as strong resentment was prevailing in the town over the terrorists’ act of targeting the poor labourers especially the infants of two and three years of age. Police and para- military personnel have been deployed in Reasi town in anticipation of trouble tomorrow.