Srinagar: At least six persons, including
four securitymen, were injured when militants exploded a hand
grenade after a clash between law enforcing agencies and a
violent mob in downtown city on Friday.
The grenade was hurled by militants at a joint gathering
of CRPF and police at Saraf Kadal chowk in the vicinity of
the historic Jamia Masjid around 4.20 PM, police sources said.
They said the security men had assembled near a CRPF
picket after charging on a stone-pelting mob which was
chanting pro-freedom and anti-establishment slogans when the
attack took place.
Prior to the grenade explosion, a pistol shot was also
heard in the area, the sources said, adding that the grenade
attack left six persons including three CRPF personnel and a
policeman injured, the sources said.
They said the whole area was immediately cordoned off by
the security forces and a hunt has been launched to nab the
militants involved in the attack.
No militant outfit has so far claimed responsibility for
the attack, which sparked off panic in the area which along
with the adjacent Rajouri Kadal, Bohrikadal and Nowhatta
localities witnessed violent clashes between the youth and
security forces shortly after Friday prayers.
Four injured in the grenade blast have been identified
as head constable Ashok Kumar and constable Santosh of CRPF,
Constable Bilal Ahmad of local police and Shopkeeper Manzoor
Ahmad Tramboo, the sources said adding condition of constable
Bilal was stated to be "critical".
The sources said police fired dozens of teargas shells
and used batons to disperse the stone-pelting mobs who took to
streets shortly after chairman of moderate faction of Hurriyat
Conference Mirwaiz Umer Farooq addressed a gathering at
Rajouri Kadal after leading a procession from Jamia Masjid.
Criticising Chief Minister Omar Abdullah accusing
separatists for encouraging violence, Mirwaiz hit back saying
the economic progress and prosperity of the state espoused by
him was not possible without resolution of Kashmir issue.
"The economic prosperity and progress talked about by the
Chief Minister is not possible without resolution of Kashmir
issue," he told the gathering.
Official sources said violent clashes between groups of
youth and security forces also took place in Baramulla and
Sopore townships of North Kashmir and Ganderbal district town.
However, no one was hurt in the clashes which erupted
after Friday prayers, the sources said.
Chairman of Hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference Syed
Ali Shah Geelani had called for peaceful protest after Friday
prayers against the alleged human rights violations and death
sentence awarded to three persons including two Kashmiris in
the 1996 Lajpat Nagar blast case.
To prevent him from leading the protests, the authorities
have placed Geelani under house arrest since last night.
A posse of policemen were deployed outside Geelani`s
Hyderpora residence with a direction not to allow the
separatist leader to move out of his house, the sources said.
In Srinagar, Mirwaiz lashed out at the Chief Minister
Omar Abdullah for what he called his repeated criticism of the
separatist leadership in the state and described it as
"We represent the blood sacrifices of over one lakh
people of the state and this bloodshed took place in the state
when Omar Abdullah was busy securing his own future outside
the state," he said.
He said political stability was an essential ingredient
for development and prosperity but the Chief Minister should
realize that it is not possible without achieving peace, which
is dependent on resolution of the vexed issue.
The Hurriyat chairman said, "We are not against
development and progress but to talk about such things when
innocents are being killed, properties destroyed and youths
implicated in false cases and jailed shows political
immaturity and exploitative nature of his politics."
Radical pro-Pakistan militant outfit Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen
(JUM) later claimed responsibility for the attack in Srinagar.
"The grenade attack at Saraf Kadal was carried out by our
activists," a caller introducing himself as spokesman of the
outfit told agency on phone.