Militants target tourists at three places
SRINAGAR: In a series of grenade attacks by militants here on Tuesday, eight persons, including five tourists from West Bengal, were killed and 37 injured. One person was caught while hurling a grenade and handed over to police by civilians.
At 11.40 a.m., militants hurled the first grenade into a mini bus near Dalgate, injuring over 15 people. They had come from Kolkatta and were planning to stay here for 10 days. While five of the injured died, others have been admitted to hospital.
Soon, another grenade was thrown towards a Maruti car with Haryana registration number in Regal Chowk. Police said Nitin Roy Shrivastava, a security personnel from Lucknow currently posted in Ladakh, was on a holiday with his family when militants hurled a grenade at his vehicle injuring four persons. Three persons, who were standing nearby, were injured.
Around 1.10 p.m. in Lal Chowk, another grenade was hurled towards a Sumo van carrying tourists to the city. The vehicle caught fire killing one person on the spot and injuring five. Soon, panic gripped the area and children could be heard crying from a nearby missionary school. Hardly a minute later, at the backyard of the school another grenade was hurled at a car in which three girls were getting in. At least six persons were injured. The school is close to Press Enclave, housing many newspaper offices including that of The Hindu .
While police was still recovering from the shock, one more grenade was thrown at a taxi stand near the Tourist Reception Centre at 3 p.m. Ten persons were injured. Mohammad Afzal of Nesbal in Baramulla district, who allegedly threw the grenade, was caught by the onlookers and handed over to the police. He has been taken for interrogation.
The motive behind the series of grenade attacks that left eight persons dead was to terrorise people, hit soft target to get maximum publicity, Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir zone, S.M. Sahai, said.
Out of the eight who died, seven were tourists, Mr. Sahai told The Hindu .
"These are young impressionable local boys being lured by militants for money," he said adding "if the media gave equal amount of publicity to our success against militancy, the situation might have been different."
As the injured were rushed to hospitals for treatment doctors had a tough time dealing with the situation. The relatives of the injured were in a state of shock. "Yeh Kiya Hua, Ham Saer Ko Aye They [What has happened we had just come to enjoy]," cried a woman who lost her close relative. Out of the five tourists from West Bengal who died in the blast, three were women.