Kashmir Grenade Attacks Kill 2, Wound 58
20 October 2003
The Washington Post
Srinagar: Suspected Islamic militants exploded two grenades in Indian- controlled Kashmir on Monday, including one at a busy bus station, killing two people and injuring at least 58, police said. In the attack at the bus station, the militants apparently were targeting a paramilitary police post, but the grenade missed and exploded near the station where scores of people were waiting to board buses, an official said. One person was killed in the grenade attack in the Batmalloo suburb of Srinagar, said Tirath Acharya, spokesman of the paramilitary Border Security Force. At least 51 people were injured, four seriously. An hour later, suspected militants hurled a grenade in Anantnag town, 35 miles south of Srinagar, killing one person and injuring seven others, police said. The explosion occurred in the town's main square. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. Srinagar is the summer capital of the northern Indian state of Jammu-Kashmir, which both India and Pakistan claim. Elsewhere in Kashmir, soldiers freed 12 villagers held hostages for a day by Islamic militants in a house in Tharyun, about 45 miles south of Srinagar, Aaj Tak television channel reported. The militants entered the home before dawn Monday. Five of the hostages were village elders whom paramilitary soldiers sent into the house to try to persuade the militants to surrender, said Senior Superintendent of Police Vipul Kumar. The seven other hostages lived in the house, he said. Indian forces frequently use civilians as negotiators in Kashmir, sending them into such hostile situations to negotiate with militants. More than a dozen Islamic militant groups are fighting Indian security forces since 1989 seeking independence for Kashmir or its merger with Muslim-dominated Pakistan. India accuses Pakistan of funding and training the militants in a 'proxy war.' Pakistan says its supports the militants' cause, but denies giving them material aid.