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One dead, 32 injured in Jammu bus stand blast

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Police arrests attacker; GUV, political parties condemn attack

Injured in Jammu Bus Stand being treated at GMC hospital. Photo/Kashmir Images

Jammu, Mar 07: One person was killed and 32 others were injured Thursday in a grenade attack in the crowded general bus stand area in the heart of the Jammu city, following which one person suspected to be involved in the attack was arrested, police said.

Mohammad Sharik, 17, a resident of Hardiwar in Uttarakhand, who was among 33 people brought to the hospital, succumbed to splinter injuries, they said.

Sources said that two of the injured are stated to be critical.

Addressing a press conference in the evening, IGP Jammu M K Sinha said Yasin Javid Bhat was nabbed by a police party at toll plaza in Nagrota.

“He was in contact with Farooq Ahmad Bhat, district commander of Hizbul Mujahideen in Kulgam,” Sinha said, adding he was arrested on basis of CCTV footage and testimony by eyewitnesses.

During questioning Bhat said he had procured the grenade from Farooq Bhat in Kulgam and reached Jammu in the morning, IGP said.

This is the third grenade attack by in Jammu bus stand since May last year, viewed by security agencies as an attempt to disturb communal harmony and peace in the city.

The condition of four more injured persons was stated to be “critical” and two of them were operated upon by the doctors to save their lives, police said.

The injured included 11 residents of Kashmir, two from Bihar and one each from Chhattisgarh and Haryana, the officials said.

Sinha said preliminary investigation suggested that someone lobbed the grenade in the bus stand area around noon, causing the explosion.

The scene of the blast along B C Road was sealed off by police and a massive hunt was launched to nab the grenade-thrower, Sinha, who immediately rushed to the scene to take stock of the situation, said.

A parked bus of the State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) suffered extensive damage in the blast which caused panic among the people.

“Whenever there is heightened state of alert, we strengthen checking and frisking but there is always a possibility of someone slipping through and this one seems to be a case like that,” the IGP said.

The officer said there was no specific input about such an attack in the city.

“General inputs are always there and the deployments have been made.  We are working on the leads all the time whenever we get inputs but there was nothing specific about this,” Sinha said.

“Obviously the intention is always to disturb the communal harmony and peace,” he said and requested the people to maintain calm.

Immediately after the explosion, people ran to safety and later as the situation returned to normal evacuated the injured to the hospital.

Police parties along with sniffer dogs and forensic experts rushed to the spot and launched a search operation, the officials said.

Meanwhile, Governor and almost all political parties Thursday condemned the grenade attack at a crowded bus stand here that left a teenager dead and 32 others injured.

Condemning the attack, Governor Satya Pal Malik directed the administration to provide best medical assistance to the injured.

He asked all agencies to ensure that those responsible for the attack are brought to justice. The Governor also announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased and Rs 20,000 each to those injured, his spokesperson said.

The J&K Congress unit said the lapses that led to the attack should be looked into as it showed the “total failure” of the Centre and the State administration in dealing with security situation.

In a statement, J&K BJP president Ravinder Raina called the attack an act of “utter cowardice” and pledged to wipe out “terrorists and their supporters” from the state.

He said “unnerved by the crackdown on separatists and terrorists, Pakistan and its sponsored terrorists are trying to show their existence by carrying out these ghastly acts.”

Condemning the blast, Pradesh Congress Committee chief G A Mir said, “This kind of incident in the heart of the city is a matter of great concern when the security agencies are on high alert in the state”.

National Conference also condemned the attack and prayed for speedy recovery of the injured.

“Such cowardly acts are a challenge to the civilized society, which are needed to be fought unitedly,” NC provincial president Devender Singh Rana said.

Rana, along with former minister Surjeet Singh Slathia, state secretary Rattan Lal Gupta, former MLC Trilochan Singh Wazir and provincial secretary Pradeep Bali visited the bus stand and interacted with people.

Hurriyat-M chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also condemned the attack.

“Saddened by the news of death of a civilian and the injury to scores of others in a blast in #Jammu at a bus stand and strongly condemn it,” the Mirwaiz tweeted.

CPI(M) and Peoples Conference also condemned the attack saying targeting unarmed is the worst form for human rights violation.

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