20 civilians injured as grenade went off in Sopore

At least 20 civilians, including two women, were injured when militants lobbed a grenade at a busy market in Sopore town of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Monday.

Reports said the civilians were attacked while they were waiting at the bus stand. Two of them had to be taken to a Srinagar hospital in a critical condition, reports added.

An eyewitness told DH over the phone that the grenade explosion took place at New Colony, Sopore, 52 kms from here, when a large number of people were present in the market. 

"Street vendors were busy selling vegetables, fruit and winter stuff when all of a sudden a huge explosion took place. People were seen lying flat on the road with blood oozing from their wounds," he said.

Soon after the attack, people removed the injured to the Sub District Hospital Sopore. “A woman was hit by multiple splinters and four others too. They were immediately referred to SMHS hospital Srinagar where the condition of the woman was stated as critical,” reports said.

This is the second grenade attack since Saturday evening when militants lobbed a grenade at a paramilitary party outside SMHS hospital in Srinagar in which six CRPF men sustained injuries. Significantly, today's attack occurred on a day when a delegation of MPs from the European Union is visiting Kashmir.

Security forces have been on high alert in Jammu and Kashmir ever since its special status under Article 370 was scrapped on August 5. The state will be formally bifurcated into two union territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh - on October 31. Security personnel are bracing for heightened terror activity during the transitionary period.

A senior police officer said if the recent grenade attacks are an indication, it seems that militants have revived the strategy of lobbing grenades at security forces and on the roads. “Throwing grenades at busy places is either aimed to provoke the security forces to fire indiscriminately or create a fear among them that they are vulnerable to such attacks,” he said.

The officer said that the use of grenades also allows the attackers to go incognito in the crowd, without being detected or identified. “The grenades are lobbed mostly by upper ground workers of the militants, which makes it even more dangerous,” he added.

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