July 2006 News

Kashmir Woman Leader Survives Attack, Four Killed

8 July 2006

Srinagar: A woman politician in Indian Kashmir survived a sixth attempt on her life on Saturday when suspected militants threw a grenade, but four of her supporters were killed, police said. Sakina Itoo, 36, lawmaker and a leader of the National Conference party, was coming out of a shrine along with her supporters when the militants attacked, a police spokesman said. 'Itoo received splinter injuries but she is out of danger' the spokesman said, adding that a former member of the legislative assembly, Ghulam Nabi Dar, and three others were killed in the explosion. More than 20 of Itoo's supporters were wounded. No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack which took place in Kulgam, 65 km (40 miles) south of Srinagar, summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state. 'The explosion was deafening, I saw people falling on each other ... bleeding and screaming for help,' Mohammad Shafi, who witnessed the attack, told Reuters. Itoo, a former tourism minister, has survived five previous attempts on her life since an Islamic insurgency broke out in the region in 1989. More than 45,000 people have been killed since then. Her father, a former speaker of the state legislature and senior leader of the National Conference party, was killed by militants in 1995. Violence has increased in the state in recent months as summer melts snow in the region's mountain passes, allowing easier movement of militants. Kashmir is part-ruled by nuclear rivals India and Pakistan, but claimed in full by both.


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