Srinagar: At least 17 people were wounded on Sunday afternoon in a blast in Magam area of central Kashmir, where India’s New and Renewable Energy Minister and National Conference (NC) patron Farooq Abdullah was scheduled to address his party workers. Earlier in the day a blast occurred in Khanyar area of downtown here, prompting the NC cadres to run for their lives.
The first explosion occurred around 11:40 am near the Gousia Wakf High School at Khanyar, minutes after Abdullah, escorted by the elite Special Services Group (SSG) personnel, reached the venue to address his party workers, eyewitnesses said.
The blast, which police is still investigating, created chaos and fear among the NC cadres. Many NC workers, including women, were struggling to find escape routes fearing that militants have sneaked into the venue.
“Many people, including women made failed attempts to climb the fence to save their lives. Some women were also seen wailing and praying for their safety,” Farooq Wani, an eyewitness, told Kashmir Reader.
He said that SSG personnel also loaded their rifles after hearing the loud explosion. The blast, he said, also sent the deployments of CRPF and police in a tizzy.
“Police and paramilitary officers rushed to the spot which was under the constant surveillance of the cops who had occupied high rise building around the venue. The forces took pictures and videos of the walls, which had visible marks caused by explosion,” another eyewitness said.
Talking to reporters after the conclusion of the rally, Abdullah said that he was not scared of grenade blasts and that he will not turn back.
“Thousands of grenades have been hurled in the past. Farooq Abdullah is not scared of grenades. And he is not the one to stay back,” he said. “Those who carry out such attacks will be defeated. Insha’Allah, we’ll secure our win and push them away,” he added.
Ten minutes after the Khanyar blast, another explosion rocked Magam town of central Kashmir causing injuries to at least 17 people, including women. The blast occurred when scores of NC activists were marching towards the Dak Bunglow, where NC patron was scheduled to address a rally. The explosion left 17 injured, even as police maintained that only three people were wounded.
“At the sub-district hospital (SDH) Magam, we received 17 people, including two women with injuries in eyes, hips, abdomen, chest and back. Three of the injured were discharged after first aid while the remaining were referred to JVC Bemina for specialized treatment,” Block Medical Officer Magam, Dr Khalid Rashid told Kashmir Reader.
Dr Rashid identified three of the injured as Nazir Ahmad Mir, of Rathsuna, who had suffered serious eye injury, and two women Haleema Bano, of Khag, and Mugli Begum, of Kanihama, who had sustained injuries in lower abdomen and hips.
“Mir was referred to SMHS Hospital from SKIMS, Bemina. He was further referred to SKIMS, Soura for serious injury in eye,” he said.
Nine more people who sustained injuries have been identified as Shahid Nazir, of Makhama, Nadeem Shah, of Baramulla, Hassan Rahi, of Tangmarg, Abdul Majeed Dar, of Pattan, Abdur Rashid Hajam, and Ghulam Rasool Hajam, of Khag, Budgam, and Ruhullah, Nazir Ahmad Mir, Mohammad Lateef, and Parvez Ahmad, all residents of Magam.
“The explosion trigged panic among the NC activists, who were marching towards the venue. Many NC workers, including females took shelters in shops and residential building fearing that militants had launched an attack,” Mohammad Ayub, an eyewitness told Kashmir Reader.
Meanwhile, a police spokesman in handout here said that an explosion that occurred under a cab in Sumo Stand Magam left three people injured. The spokesman identified the trio as Nazir Ahmad Shah, Nazir Ahmad Mir, and Mugli Begum.
“The injured have been provided medical help. Police has taken cognizance of the matter and started investigation into the nature of the explosion,” the spokesman added.
About the Khanyar explosion, the spokesman said, “This forenoon sound of an explosion was heard in Khanyar, Srinagar. There were no reports of any injury to anyone. Police has started investigation into the matter as to what caused the sound of the explosion.”
No militant outfit has so far claimed responsibility for the twin explosions.