September 2017 News

Grenade Attack Kills Two, Close Call For Minister

21 September 2017
The Indian Express
Mir Ehsan

Srinagar: JAMMU AND Kashmir Minister Nayeem Akhtar had a narrow escape on Thursday when a grenade was hurled at his cavalcade in Tral, killing two persons, one of them a 17-year-old girl. Police said it was a militant attack. No outfit has taken responsibility so far. According to reports, the attack occurred about 11.30 am, when the minister's cavalcade was passing through a market in Tral. Some unidentified persons hurled a grenade, which reportedly fell about 8 metres away from Akhtar's vehicle. Twenty-nine people, including nine security personnel and a one-year-old infant, were injured. Two of them succumbed to injuries. They have been identified as Ghulam Nabi Trag, 75, and Pinky Kour, 17, both from Tral. Speaking to The Indian Express, Akhtar, who is the roads and building minister and cabinet spokesman, said he had gone to Tral to inaugurate and inspect some projects. 'We have taken up development projects of Rs 100 crore in Tral and its adjoining areas. Many people came to us with their grievances. When we reached the market area, there was an attack on our cavalcade,' he said. 'Two pedestrians, an old man and a girl who was a student of Islamic University, were killed in the attack. Though I survived the attack, I regret the loss of their lives It will haunt me for my entire life. For how long will we get grenades from outside, kill our own people and stop development work,' said Akhtar, adding that the people responsible for the attack were 'not friends of the people of Kashmir or Islam'. Akthar said a superintending engineer was also injured in the attack. Ten of the injured were later shifted to the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital in Srinagar. Superintendent of Police, Awantipora, Mohammad Zaid said the minister's cavalcade was on its way to Mundoora village when it was attacked at a congested spot in the market. 'There was full security on the ground, but the militants took advantage of the heavy rush of people and lobbed a grenade,' he said. Soon after the attack, residents held protests in Tral, alleging that the police fired pellets that injured many civilians. However, police officials said that all those injured had suffered splinter injuries from the grenade attack. 'After the blast, as per the standard operating procedure, police fired several rounds in the air to prevent another attack, but not a single pellet was fired,' said Zaid. 'I was calling out for passengers when there was a deafening sound. I fell on the ground, and my leg started bleeding. I was taken to hospital, and later referred to Srinagar,' said Ghulam Mohammad Lone, a bus conductor who is undergoing treatment at the SMHS Hospital. Among the others who have been shifted to SMHS Hospital are one-year-old Salviya Showkat and her mother Daizy, both with splinter injuries. 'My sister and her daughter were on their way to a doctor's clinic, when they were injured. My sister is still in a state of shock and hasn't spoken,' said Daizy's sister, Tabassum. Condemning the incident, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said: 'The attack took place when a minister had gone to the town to assess development needs of the area, which has remained neglected for decades.' The Hizbul Mujahideen blamed intelligence agencies for the attack. 'We condemn this dastardly attack on civilians. This attack is a brainchild of Indian agencies, which want to defame the Kashmir freedom movement,' said its operational spokesperson, Burhan-ud-din, in a statement.