The 13 were wounded when unidentified assailants hurled a hand grenade at a crowded bus stand late on Wednesday in the southern Kashmir town of Anantnag, 55km from the summer capital of Srinagar, police said on Wednesday.

Indian troops launched a hunt for the attackers and rushed the injured to hospitals, a police officer said, adding that three of the victims were in critical condition.

Elsewhere, Indian troops killed four suspected Muslim fighters in separate gun battles earlier on Wednesday near the Line of Control, the de facto border that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

On Tuesday, suspected separatists barged into a house in the state's Udhampur district and killed three members of a Muslim family, while two members of a volunteer paramilitary force supported by Indian troops were shot dead by rebels in Budgam district.

Explosive device

Separately, a civilian was killed by suspected fighters on Tuesday in Rajouri district, police said.

Aljazeera.net's Yusuf Jameel reports quoting police in Kashmir's capital Srinagar that an improvised explosive device weighing about 150kg was detected and defused on Wednesday in a city suburb a before it could cause any human loss.
 

Kashmiri Muslim police personnel
are often targeted by fighters

The device, rigged to a three-wheeler, had been parked in the Idgah-Noorbagh area before a column of paramilitary security  personnel moved in to patrol the neighbourhood streets.

Another improvised explosive device was found near a Muslim cemetery in Bandipore town in the northwestern Kashmir, police said. "It too was detected and defused before it could be triggered off," said a police official.

On Tuesday, Kashmiri cleric Mufti Bashiruddin made a passionate appeal to both Muslim fighters and Indian security forces to observe a truce during Ramadan.

"It would be a great service to Islam and Muslims if a ceasefire during Ramadan is announced by those who say they are fighting for the cause of religion."

Plea for restraint

Bashiruddin said: "If they do, they still reserve the right to defend themselves when attacked. But even while defending themselves, they must observe self-restraint and not retaliate to kill."

The grand mufti hoped that New Delhi too would consider a ceasefire in Kashmir during the month of fasting.

Kashmir has been in the grip of a separatist uprising from Indian rule since 1989 that has left more than 44,000 people dead by official count. Separatists say the death toll is twice as high.

Aljazeera.net's Yusuf Jameel in Srinagar contributed to this report