Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR: In just two days of the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s maiden visit to assess the security scenario in Kashmir, suspected militants on Friday rocked the summer capital of Srinagar with a chain of five hand grenades, albeit taking care that there were no fatal casualties.
First time in the last over two years, unidentified persons carried out a series of grenade attacks in uptown Srinagar, spreading a wave of terror around the government’s seat of power and the civil lines. In an attempt to reduce the level of panic, authorities labelled two blasts as “not subversive”, insisting that one was a cracker and another an accidental explosion of a vehicle’s battery.
Informed official sources told STATE TIMES that in the first attack, suspected militants appeared at a franchise of Aircel telecommunication company at Karan Nagar. They commandeered all the employees, salesmen and customers out and lobbed a Chinese grenade that caused extensive damage to the showroom interior. Nobody was injured in the blast caused around 400 metres from the offices of IGP Kashmir and other senior Police officers at 11.15 AM.
A franchise of Vodafone telecommunication company became the target of the second identical attack at Gole Market, Karan Nagar. Eyewitnesses said that everybody was asked to move out before the suspected militants threw a Chinese grenade at 11.30 AM. The showroom suffered considerable damage.
The third grenade hit a BSNL BTS at the premises of Ali Mohammad Dar close to Police Station Shaheed Gunj, 400 meters from Civil Secretariat. An auto driver sustained splinter injuries.
Subsequently, another grenade blast occured at Gogjibagh, in close vicinity of a CRPF battalion headquarters. It didn’t cause any damage. Police officials claimed it was a cracker blast. The fifth explosion of the day took place at Magarmal Bagh. Police claimed it was an accidental blast in a vehicle’s battery.
Informed sources, however, insisted that the 4th and the 5th explosion were also “grenade blasts aimed at spreading a wave of terror without causing casualties”. They insisted that small size Chinese grenades were used in all the five attacks. Tyres of two parked vehicle did burst in the blast caused at Gogjibagh.
Director General of Police K. Rajendra Kumar told STATE TIMES that he visited the spots and later took a meeting with senior Police, CRPF and intelligence officers. “We believe that it was the handiwork of a militant network mainly operating in Sopore-Pattan belt of North Kashmir. Footprints of the estranged Hizbul Mujahideen militant Qayoom Najar were evident in all the three grenade attacks”, DGP said.
Rajendra revealed that Police had recovered same type of lever and ballistic material from two spots which had been previously recovered in identical attacks this year in Sopore and Pattan. “We are working on it and we are sure to solve these blasts very soon”, DGP asserted. He said it was clearly an offensive of Qayoom Najar’s group.
Significantly, in a statement issued from Muzaffarabad or Islamabad on Thursday, Hizbul Mujahideen spokesman claimed that his organisation had expelled Najar for attacking innocent people, particularly those associated with mobile telephony. A number of civilian had died and sustained injuries in a series of such attacks, mostly in Sopore-Pattan area of Baramulla district two months back.
An unknown outfit launched under the banner of Lashkar-e-Islam had claimed these attacks while directing people associated with mobile telephony to immediately stop their business operations in Kashmir. However, most of the militant and separatist groups had alleged that the Indian agencies were behind the offensive. After the Hizb statement, it has become clear that none other than the organisation’s most feared militant Qayoom Najar had carried out the attacks. Najar’s rejoinder or clarification has not been received by news offices on Friday.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper