M A I N   N E W S

Ultras target tourists
4 dead, 19 hurt in Pahalgam hotel blast
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, June 12
Four tourists, including an eight-year-old child, were killed and 19 injured when suspected militants hurled a grenade in a hotel in the main market of the tourist spot of Pahalgam in south Kashmir this afternoon.

This is the first such attack that is bound to hit the flow of tourists to the Kashmir Valley.

The explosion took place at 4.15 p.m. when suspected militants hurled a grenade inside Hotel Purnima in the main market of Pahalgam, about 100 km south of here, in Anantnag district. Senior civil and police officials rushed to the spot. Those killed were identified as Danish Halwai and Mustaqeem Halwai from Uttar Pradesh, Bhavnesh, son of Chandrakant, from Mumbai, and an 8-year old girl, whose identity was not known immediately. The three seriously injured, including two from Ahmedabad and one local, were shifted to the SMHS hospital here.

A little known militant outfit Al-Nasireen has claimed responsibility for the attack, its spokesman told some local media organisations here this evening.

The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, condemning the attack described it as highly unfortunate that deserved severe condemnation. In a statement he said the incident was a conspiracy to target interests of Kashmir and its people and bring the place to disrepute. He said whoever committed the crime was surely an enemy of the present peace process aimed at ending the miseries of the people of Kashmir. He said the incident would be investigated and culprits brought to book. He also assured adequate security arrangements for tourists.

An official spokesman said several tourist trade organisations have condemned the attack and asked the government to catch the culprits so that the conspirators working against the interests of the people of Kashmir were unmasked. They said the process of normalisation has attracted lot of tourists to the valley renewing hopes of a better future for tens of thousands of people related with the tourist trade in Kashmir.

Elsewhere, at least six persons, including four militants, three of them infiltrators, were killed and 22 civilians injured, three of them seriously, in separate incidents in Kashmir valley since yesterday.

At least 22 pedestrians were injured when unidentified militants hurled a grenade in the main market of Handware town, about 80 km north of here, in Kupwara district this afternoon.

The police said the grenade, aimed at a picket of the army at the main chowk, missed the intended target and exploded on the road injuring 22 civilians. The entire area was cordoned off and searches were launched for the miscreants. There seriously injured were shifted to hospitals here.

Three infiltrators were killed in an encounter with the security forces at Jumgund in Trehgam area near the LoC in Kupwara district today.

The identity of those killed was yet to be ascertained. Search operations to flush out hiding militants in the area were gong on.

One militant, Abu Yasir was killed in an encounter with security forces at Kralopora, Bandipore in Baramulla district yesterday, police said.

Unidentified militants kidnapped and shot dead Ghulam Nabi Sofi at Lajoora in Pulwama district of South Kashmir last evening.

The police recovered the body of an unidentified woman from Vissu Nallah in Shopian area of Pulwama district today.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |