Two civilians were killed and more than two dozen others injured when suspected militants attacked the cavalcade of Public Works Department Minister Naeem Akhtar in Tral on Thursday afternoon.
According to the reports, suspected militants lobbed a grenade when Akhtar’s cavalcade reached near the Bus stand in Tral killing two on spot and injuring around 30 civilians and security forces. Witness said that soon after the attack took place, forces stationed near the bus stand fired pellets injuring as many as 30 civilians.
The Director General of Police SP Vaid told a New Delhi based news channel that Naeem Akhtar, from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was the target of the attack.
“The minister was immediately shifted to a safe location. He escaped unhurt. The militants hurled the grenade when the minister’s cavalcade reached near the bus stand,” he said.
Meanwhile, the deceased were identified as Pinky Kour daughter of Ichpal Singh resident of Chattrogam, Ghulam Nabi Trag son of Ghulam Ahmad Trag resident of Tral-e-Payeen.
The injured included 07 CRPF men, 02 policemen and 21 civilians.
A police statement said, “Today in the afternoon, terrorists hurdled a grenade at Bus Stand Tral in the jurisdiction of Police Station Tral, Awantipora, resulting in on the spot death of two innocent civilians.”
All the injured were shifted to the Sub District Hospital Tral for treatment. Reports said that 16 civilians and two CRPF men were discharged after preliminary treatment while the rest of the injured were shifted to Srinagar hospitals for specialized treatment.
According to the reports, at least 6 injured in the grenade attack were referred to SMHS hospital in Srinagar, 4 others were referred to SKIMS, Soura for specialized treatment.
Meanwhile, no militant outfit has claimed the responsibility of the attack. Hizbul Mujahideen has condemned the attack and has blamed the ‘Indian Agencies’ for the attack
“We condemn this dastardly attack on civilians. This attack is the brainchild of Indian Agencies who want to defame the Kashmir Freedom Movement. The attack was aimed at to create a wedge between militants and the local population,” Hizb Operational Spokesperson Burhanuddin told news agency a local news agency over phone.
Soon after the attack scores of people staged a protest outside the SDH Tral against the forces who allegedly used opened fire and resorted to pellet firing on civilians.
However, police has denied using any pellet guns after the attack. The police termed the use of pellets as totally baseless.
“No pellet was fired, however some shots were fired in air to prevent any further attack,” SP Awantipora Shri Zahid Malik said.
He said that the forces showed maximum restrain during the incident.
Meanwhile, the medics at SDH Tral have initially confirmed as many as 28 injuries as that of pellets shotguns. However, later they retracted from the earlier statement and issued a new list of casualties without showing the cause of the injuries.