One person was killed and over 40 others, including nine women, injured in a grenade attack in the Lalchowk area, in the heart of Srinagar city, Monday afternoon.
Police identified the man who was killed as Rinku Singh, a resident of Uttar Pradesh. “He was selling balloons and toys in the area,” J&K Police DIG (Central Kashmir Range) V K Birdi told The Indian Express.
Two of the injured are “critical”, according to officials at Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital.
This is the second grenade attack in the Valley over the last eight days. On October 28, 19 persons were injured after suspected militants lobbed a grenade in North Kashmir’s Sopore.
Describing Monday’s incident, officials and eyewitnesses said the grenade was lobbed in Gonikhan market on Hari Singh Street in Lalchowk. “There was a loud bang and people started running away from the area. Those injured were immediately taken to hospital,” said a shopkeeper near the spot.
Earlier, on October 12, seven persons were injured in a grenade attack on the same stretch. The Valley is observing a shutdown against the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, but the area where Monday’s attack took place was dotted with roadside stalls.
IGP CRPF Srinagar sector Ravideep Singh Sahi said the grenade was lobbed in the “street vendors’ area” and “there were a lot of people there at that time”.
At SMHS hospital, there was chaos all around as the injured were brought for treatment, and their relatives gathered. SMHS Medical Superintendent Dr Nazir Chowdhary said the hospital received 41 patients with splinter injuries, including Rinku Singh who later succumbed to his injuries. “All the injured are civilians,” Chowdhary said.
However, J&K Police said “three SSB personnel and 15 civilians were injured” in the attack. Police said the condition of “two locals Aijaz and Fayaz Ahmad are serious”.
“Police had arrested a local terrorist two days back at Sopore who, too, was tasked to throw grenades in busy markets and petrol pumps. Return of normalcy and opening of shops is unnerving terrorists and their handlers… in Pakistan,” police said.