Indian Kashmir Blasts Kill 5
14 April 2006
Srinagar: A series of grenade attacks by suspected Muslim militants killed five people, including two women, in Indian Kashmir's main city on Friday and wounded 40, police said. Three militant groups - Jamiat- ul-Mujahideen, al-Mansoorain and Jaish-e-Mohammad - claimed responsibility for the attacks, in Srinagar, the Current News Service, a local news agency said.At least seven explosions rocked the Srinagar city. Though the target was security forces but most of the victims were civilians,' a senior police official told Reuters. The blasts rattled the city on the day devout Muslims offered special prayers at Kashmir's holiest shrine, Hazratbal, to mark the anniversary of Prophet Mohammad's birth. The anniversary was observed earlier this week but special prayers were offered on Friday, an auspicious day for Muslims. 'It is shame militants targeted innocents on this auspicious day,' said Rubina Akhtar, whose husband was among the wounded. Violence has declined in the region after India and Pakistan launched a peace process over two years ago but gun battles and explosions continue to rock the territory claimed by the South Asian neighbours. Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the revolt against New Delhi's rule over Kashmir erupted in 1989. The attacks come 10 days ahead of by- elections for four seats for the Jammu and Kashmir state assembly, including one being contested by Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. 'These acts (of violence) have now lost their relevance and these forces (militants) should realize that they are responsible for all miseries through which people of Kashmir have faced during last 17 years,' Azad said in a statement. The main road in a busy market near Kashmir's famous Dal Lake, where one of the grenades exploded, was splattered with blood and littered with shoes after people fled in panic. 'After a deafening explosion, I could only see people shouting for help and others running for cover. I was bleeding and police took me to the hospital,' said a victim Mohammad Ramzan. Hundreds of people, many of them wailing, rushed to a Srinagar hospital looking for their relatives. 'After a lull in Srinagar, it was a surprise attack. We have stepped up security in the city,' Javid Koul, a senior police official said.