One Killed In Indian Kashmir Grenade Blast: Police

19 June 2009
Agence France-Presse

Srinagar: A vegetable seller was killed when a grenade hurled at a bus carrying Indian tourists missed its target in Indian-ruled Kashmir's main city of Srinagar, police said Friday. 'Initial investigations reveal that the bus carrying tourists was the target (of militants),' a police officer said, requesting not to be named. He said a vegetable seller was killed on the spot after the device exploded in front of his roadside shop Friday evening. The explosion, which seriously hurt another Kashmiri bystander, sparked panic in Srinagar's Dalgate area, situated on the shores of Lake Dal - the scenic Himalayan region's main tourist attraction. More police have began patrolling the area after the blast as panic-struck tourists rushed to their hotels and houseboats. Over a dozen tourists were killed in 2007 and 2008 in grenade attacks and bomb explosions in Kashmir. Police blamed the attacks on Muslim militants, who are waging a deadly insurgency in the region against Indian rule. Rebels have denied their involvement in the blasts. Meanwhile, a suspected militant was killed and two of his associates wounded when a bomb they were making went off in Srinagar, police said. 'The explosion took place late last (Thursday) evening,' a police spokesman said, adding more arms and explosives were later recovered from the hide-out where the explosion took place. The blast occurred close to Kashmir's main university, where India's Vice-President Hamid Ansari is due to attend a day-long convocation Saturday. Both blasts came as a two-month-long Hindu pilgrimage to a cave shrine in Kashmir got under way early this week. The procession has been attacked by the militants in the past. Violence has declined sharply since India and Pakistan started a peace process in 2004 to resolve their pending disputes, including the one over Kashmir. The two hold the region in part but each claims it in full. A nearly 20-year revolt has claimed tens of thousands of lives in the Indian portion of the disputed state.