M A I N   N E W S

10 killed in Srinagar blast
Car bomb explodes near Mufti’s residence

Srinagar, November 2
Barely a few hours before the swearing in of Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad as the 10th Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, a suicide attacker detonated a powerful car bomb explosion at Nowgam area on the city outskirts near the old residence of his predecessor Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today, killing at least 10 persons and wounding about 15 others, some of them critically, official sources said.

However, a police spokesman tonight said six persons — one constable, one militant and four civilians, including a woman, — were killed and about 18 others wounded in the explosion.

The deadly explosion took place about 15 km from Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC), the venue of the swearing-in ceremony, and hours before Mr Azad, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader, was to take oath as the new Chief Minister of the state, replacing Mr Sayeed.

A 10-year-old boy, a female pedestrian, three Jammu and Kashmir police personnel, including a sub-inspector, and the fidayeen were among the 10 killed in the suicide attack, the responsibility for which was claimed by the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

This is the second car bomb explosion in Kashmir in less than six days.

Giving details, the sources said a Maruti Alto car, laden with an improvised explosive device (IED), was asked to stop by the security forces for routine checking at the Nowgam chowk in the central Kashmir district of Badgam at 10.50 a.m.

However, the driver, the fidayeen, did not stop the car, leading to a chase by the security forces on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway bypass, they added.

While the security forces were following the vehicle, the fidayeen triggered the IED, killing the 10 persons, including himself.

However, the police is yet to ascertain the exact number of fidayeen in the car, which was blown into pieces.

About 15 others, including a few traffic police constables, were wounded who have been shifted to various hospitals here.

Eyewitnesses said the body fragments were scattered all around near the blast site.

The impact of the blast was so powerful that it rattled the entire area and several shops in the vicinity were damaged, Windowpanes of several nearby buildings also shattered.

The police spokesman said four vehicles — one Maruti car, two load carriers and a truck — were also damaged in the blast.

A caller, who identified himself as Jaish spokesman Abu Qadam, telephoned local media organisations here, claiming the responsibility.

He said it was a suicide attack and the car was laden with about 100 kg of explosives.

The Jaish spokesman said Mohammad Mubashir, a resident of Abbaspora in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), was the fidayeen who carried out the attack.

In fact, it was what they had done exactly three years ago...struck on the day of swearing in of a Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir.

On November 2, 2002, when Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was getting ready to take oath as the ninth Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, militants fired two grenades at his residence in Nowgam on the city outskirts, injuring a security guard.

Mr Sayeed and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti were present in the house at the time of the attack, but escaped unhurt as one of the rifle-grenades burst mid-air and another fell some distance away.

Today, the militants again struck and in the same area.

Incidentally, Mr Sayeed had also taken oath at the same venue three years ago. — UNI


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