Grenade attack kills one tourist in Gulmarg


SRINAGAR: Terrorists on Sunday breached a multi-layered security cordon around the north Kashmir resort town of Gulmarg and hurled a grenade at a busy taxi stand killing two people, including a tourist, and wounding five others.

The attack is a fresh jolt to Jammu & Kashmir’s tourism sector — the mainstay its economy — after the violent protests against the forest land transfer to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB). The stir led to nearly 5 lakh tourists fleeing the state.

Police identified the deceased as Ashok Kumar (40) from UP, who was holidaying in Gulmarg along with his family, and a local youth, Mohammad Yousaf (16). “The injured, including a tourist, were shifted to a Tangmarg hospital,” north Kashmir IG B Srinivasan said, adding, “Yousaf was critically injured and died on his way to a Srinagar hospital.”

Director, health services, Dr Muzaffar Ahmed Shah, said the injured — Joginder Swami (36) from UP, Bashir Ahmad (14), Tahira Akhtar (18), Parvez Ahmad (19) and Irshad Ahmad (17), all Kashmiris, were out of danger and recuperating at the hospital.

J&K chief secretary S S Kapur said the state administration was worried about the sudden spurt in violence. “We would hold a security meeting on Monday to review the worsening security situation,” he said.

Terrorists have targeted tourists in the past as well and Sunday’s attack was the first such incident this year. No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the cops are tightlipped.

A day after 10 soldiers were killed in one of the deadliest attacks on security forces in recent times near Srinagar, an Army Major and a police constable were killed and three others seriously injured in a fierce gunbattle with terrorists at Thanamandi in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district.

The encounter took place after security forces, acting on a tip-off, launched an offensive against a group of five to six LeT terrorists hiding in the woods near Thanamandi. “Army and Special Operations Group (SOG) of police launched a cordon and search operation in the area, and when the terrorists fired at the security forces, there was immediate retaliation,” defence spokesperson Col S D Goswami said.