M A I N   N E W S

4 killed, J&K ex-minister hurt in Srinagar blast
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, November 16
Four persons were killed and 63 injured in an IED explosion outside the Corporate Headquarters of Jammu and Kashmir Bank near the Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) here this morning. Those injured, included a former Minister of state, Usman Majeed, 12 police personnel and 10 women the police said. More than 40 others, most of them officials of the bank were injured inside the premises due to breaking of glass panes by the impact of the explosion, while the guard at the main gate was among four persons killed.

Former Minister in the PDP-led coalition government, Usman Majeed, whose vehicle was also damaged while on moving near the site of the explosion, was also injured in the explosion. His car and several other vehicles were damaged due to the explosion, which took place at 10.15 am. The incident took place barely hours after the conclusion of 25-hour-long suicide attack in Central Lal Chowk area and another grenade explosion at a rally of former Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir at Tangmarg yesterday. At least six vehicles including official Ambassador car of the former Minister Usman Majeed, escort gypsy, two private vehicles and a mini bus carrying passengers were heavily damaged. Many other vehicles in the nearby tourist taxi stand and the glass panes of the Radio Kashmir, Srinagar, building, were broken due to the blast.

DIG Police, Kashmir Range, H.K. Lohia said that the explosion was caused due to an IED fitted in a Maruti car on the main road leading from MA Road to the TRC. Those injured included passengers in the mini bus that was on the move at the time of the explosion. Mr Lohia however, ruled out any possibility of the link between the two recent major incidents of suicide attack in Lal Chowk and the grenade attack on the former ministers public rally at Tangmarg yesterday.

According to the police, the Al-Arifeen outfit a front organisation of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, has owned responsibility of the attack. Preliminary investigations indicated body of the suicide bomber was blown to pieces.

The injured have been admitted to various hospitals here, where the condition of more than 10 persons was stated to be critical. Of the injured, 38 have been admitted to the SMHS hospital, 13 to the SKIMS, Soura, three at the Bone and Joints Hospital and 11 others including former Minister, Usman Majeed are undergoing treatment at the police Hospital.

The security guard at the main gate of the Corporate Headquarters of Jammu and Kashmir Bank, who was killed in the incident has been identified as Ghulam Rasool from Dooraswan, Sogam area of Kupwara district. Others killed were identified as Abdul Hameed Naqash, Nazir Ahmad and Abdul Rehman Bhat, all residents of different localities here.

Two CRPF personnel were killed in an ambush by suspected militants at Awantipora, 30 km south of here on the Srinagar Jammu national highway this morning.

Meanwhile, death toll in the grenade explosion at the public meeting of former Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir at Tangmarg yesterday has gone up to six, when three others succumbed to their injures in the hospital since last evening. At least three others were killed on the spot and 60 including the former Minister and senior PDP leader were injured in the explosion.

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