11 CRPF men injured in grenade blast ahead of PM’s visit
Amid highest security alert, militants attack paramilitary camp in Srinagar
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Nov 5: Two days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit, suspected militants on Thursday attacked a paramilitary encampment at Ikhwan Chowk, causing injuries to eleven CRPF personnel.
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gilani told STATE TIMES that suspected militants lobbed a “grenade-like explosive substance” towards Hotel Ikhwan, close to Civil Lines, at around 7.30 p.m. Eleven paramilitaries sustained injuries. They were evacuated and rushed to hospital. “Ten of them had very minor injuries and would be discharged by midnight. One will remain under treatment for a day or so”, IGP said.
Mr Gilani added that Police and security forces were on high alert and looking for the elements who could have managed to toss a grenade on the CRPF encampment. It was after long pause of several years that a grenade attack took place in the capital city, particularly in the uptown neighbourhood perceived to be free of militants over the last one decade.
IGP said that the authorities had put in place all the necessary security arrangements for the PM’s visit. Modi is scheduled to address a massive public rally at Sher-e-Kashmir International Cricket Stadium Sonwar, just a mile away from Ikhwan Chowk. “Most of the times when Prime Minister was in town, or on a visit elsewhere in the Valley, militants have in the past caused a blast or fidayeen attack for newsmaking purpose. We are sure that we haven’t left any loopholes and there would be no untoward incident anywhere in the Valley”, IGP said
Areas falling under jurisdiction of six Police Stations in downtown Srinagar will remain under undeclared curfew on Friday. Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has called upon the people to march to Jamia Masjid to register their protest against PM’s visit. Authorities have held almost all the important separatist leaders under house arrest while as hundreds of men, who have potential of causing turbulence, have been detained at different Police Stations and detention centers.
Parallel to Modi’s rally, head of Hurriyat’s radical faction, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has announced to hold a “million-strong public meeting”. Authorities have not issued permission to any political gathering on the day of PM’s visit even as Geelani or his organisation or alliance, have not applied for it.
Meanwhile, Hizbul Mujahideen spokesman claimed in a telephonic conversation with a local news agency that militants of his organisation had attacked the CRPF camp in Srinagar. He claimed that 3 soldiers were killed and 11 more sustained injuries in the attack. Simultaneously, spokesman of Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen told another news agency that militants of his outfit left four soldiers dead and a dozen others injured in the attack. He claimed that the strike had been timed around Modi’s visit to Srinagar.