The Jammu and Kashmir Police have arrested the person who threw a grenade at a bus station in Jammu on Thursday afternoon citing Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh. One person succumbed to his injuries and at least 30 people are undergoing treatment for their injuries, according to the Hindustan Times.
Jammu Inspector General of Police MK Sinha blamed the Hizbul Mujahideen extremist group for the attack. “[Name withheld] was tasked to throw this grenade by District Commander of Hizbul Mujahideen in Kulgam, Farooq Ahmed Bhatt alias Omar,” he said according to ANI. The accused is a 15-year-old boy, officials told PTI.
The person who died was identified as 17-year-old Mohammad Shariq from Uttarakhand. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said two people were critically injured, News18 reported.
Sinha said the grenade explosion took place near the bus stand’s exit around 11.50 am. Sinha told The Indian Express that the grenade was lobbed from inside a bus and that there were no specific alerts from intelligence agencies prior to the attack.
“Teams were constituted to work on leads, CCTV camera footage examined,” he said, according to ANI. “Based on oral testimony of witnesses were were able to identify a suspect.” Sinha said the attacker was a young man wearing jeans and a t-shirt, NDTV reported.
“Whenever there is a heightened state of alert we step up checking,” Sinha said. “There is always a possibility of someone to slip through…appeal everyone to remain calm. Police is working on all leads.”
Jammu Deputy Commissioner Ramesh Kumar had earlier said that 11 people injured in the blast were from Kashmir, eight from Jammu and six people from other states. The wounded were taken to hospital in Jammu for further treatment.
An unidentified police official told Greater Kashmir that the blast took place at 11.45 am in a Punjab Roadways bus stationed at the stand. The area has been cordoned off by the local police and an investigation is underway. The nature of the explosion is not known yet.
The blast comes weeks after a suicide attack in Pulwama district of South Kashmir killed 40 CRPF personnel.
Hizbul Mujahideen blames Indian security agencies for attack
However, the Hizbul Mujahideen condemned the attack, and blamed it on Indian security agencies, Kashmir Walla reported. Hizbul Mujahideen “operational spokesperson” Burhan-u-Din told the daily that the extremist outfit’s chief, Syed Salahuddin, Deputy Chief Saifullah Khalid and “Field Operational Commander” Mohammad Bin Qasim have condemned the blast.
Blaming Indian agencies, Burhan-u-Din said: “They are defaming the sacred freedom struggle in Kashmir by resorting to such kind of actions on innocent people.”
Political parties condemn blast
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik directed the administration to provide the best possible medical assistance to the injured, PTI reported. He also announced Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the deceased man and Rs 20,000 each to those wounded.
State BJP chief Ravinder Raina called the attack an “utter cowardice act” and vowed to root out terrorism and its supporters from the Valley. “Pakistan’s nefarious designs have failed till now and it will be taught lesson for all misdeeds,” he said. “All those responsible for the act will be hunted down by our forces.” He said Jammu is a “Dogra heartland” that has never succumbed to such tactics.
The Jammu and Kashmir Congress unit blamed the attack on the “total failure” of the Centre and the state administration in dealing with security. The Congress said the lapses that led to the attack should be investigated. “This kind of incident in the heart of the city is a matter of great concern when the security agencies are on high alert in the state,” state Congress chief GA Mir said.
National Conference Provincial President Devender Singh Rana said: “Such cowardice acts were a challenge to the civilized society, which are needed to be fought unitedly.”
Moderate Hurriyat Conference Chairperson Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also condemned the blast. “Saddened by the news of death of a civilian and the injury to scores of others in a blast in #Jammu at a bus stand and strongly condemn it,” Farooq tweeted.