A police source said three civilians were injured in the explosion on Tuesday at Hanjivira village, about 35km north of Srinagar, capital of the Indian-administered portion of Kashmir.

 

The explosive was placed along the highway that will be taken on Thursday by the inaugural service of a passenger bus between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir. 

The blast occurred soon after a bomb squad defused two powerful bombs - one 70kg, the other 60kg - placed in plastic bags along the same highway in nearby Palhalan.

"Troops detected two roadside landmines buried under soil at Palhalan, which were defused later," a police spokesman said.

"The mines were very powerful. The troops have averted a major tragedy."

Reuniting families

The bus has been hailed as a way of reuniting families divided after the partition of the state in 1947 by a de facto ceasefire border known as the Line of Control.

But groups fighting a 15-year war of attrition in the India zone of the divided state, earlier this week labelled the bus a "coffin", and urged Kashmiris to shun the service.

The road is used daily by hundreds of civilian and military
vehicles, and p
olice maintain round-the-clock surveillance.