Kashmiri official escapes assassination

The deputy chief minister of Indian-administered Kashmir, Mangat Ram Sharma, escaped a bid on his life when his motorcade came under attack in the state's summer capital on Tuesday.

    Civilians are bearing the brunt of the latest surge in violence

    Sharma was on his way to join Kashmir's chief minister, Mufti Muhammad Sayid, at an inauguration ceremony for the Valley's first flyover in a Srinagar neighbourhood when suspected rebels fired a grenade at the official convoy.

    The rifle-launched grenade missed Sharma's car and struck the motorcade's last vehicle - less than 100 metres from the flyover site, said a senior Kashmir police officer.

    Two members of Sharma's security team and four civilians - including a girl - were wounded in the attack, witnesses and police said. Haseeb Mughal, a police officer, sustained eye injury and had to be airlifted out of the Valley for treatment.

    Kashmir Freedom Force, a little-known armed separatist group, claimed responsibility for the attempt on Sharma's life and vowed to carry out more such attacks in the future.

    Later, at the inauguration ceremony, the chief minister said Kashmir's development projects will continue as usual. "We will not be cowed down by such actions," Sayid said.

    He added: "When India and Pakistan are holding talks and have initiated numerous confidence-building-measures, all violence should stop to give peace a chance."

    In earlier violence, three persons - including a baker - were killed and several others were wounded in a landmine blast in a market outside Nishat Garden.

    The garden is considered a major tourist attraction on the banks of Srinagar's Dal Lake which dates back to the Mughal era.

    Police suspect two of the victims were rebels who were transporting the improvised explosive device when it went off.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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