1 Killed, 24 Wounded In Kashmir Attacks
22 May 2006
Srinagar: Suspected Islamic militants carried out four grenade attacks Monday on government forces in India's portion of Kashmir ahead of the Indian prime minister's visit to the region this week, killing one person and wounding 24 others, police said. The attackers escaped after each of the attacks in Srinagar, the summer capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state, police said. The driver of a small bus carrying Indian tourists was killed when a grenade lobbed by suspected rebels missed its target - a security patrol - and exploded near the vehicle, said Mohamed Riaz, a doctor, at the Sher-i-Kashmir Medical Institute of Sciences where the victim was brought after the attack. Six tourists in the minibus were wounded and hospitalized, but their injuries were not life-threatening, Riaz told The Associated Press. Two policemen and six civilians were wounded in the day's first explosion in the Kathi Darwaza neighborhood of Srinagar, said police officer Ali Mohammad. Most of those injuries were minor. Minutes later and a few miles away, another grenade attack by suspected rebels in Srinagar's Barbarshah neighborhood injured two policemen and a civilian, Mohammad said. A third attack on a security post in Fateh Kadal neighborhood of Srinagar wounded three soldiers and four civilians. The outlawed militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for three of the four attacks in telephone calls to a Srinagar-based news agency, Current News Service. The attacks came a day after militants, dressed as policemen, hurled grenades and fired bullets into a political rally in central Srinagar, killing five people and wounding 20 others, before two of the attackers were killed by security forces. On Monday, authorities further stepped up security in the region ahead of a two-day visit by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the region. Police and soldiers set up checkpoints across Srinagar, frisking people and searching cars for explosives. Roads leading to the lakeside venue for Singh's meetings have also been sealed off. 'We are making all possible security arrangements for the event,' said A.P. Maheshwari, inspector general of the Central Reserve Police Force. 'We have increased patrolling.' Singh is scheduled to arrive in Srinagar on Wednesday and has offered to hold talks with separatist groups during his visit. Four Islamic militant groups said Sunday they would sabotage the talks and warned Kashmiri groups against taking part in the talks. Kashmir's main separatist alliance, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, said Monday it would not attend the talks aimed at resolving the troubles that plague the Himalayan region, where a separatist insurgency against Indian rule has killed more than 67,000 people since 1989.