5 Amarnath pilgrims killed in Kashmir blast

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{image-kashmir map_24072008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Srinagar, Jul 24: Five Amarnath pilgrims were killed and about 20 others wounded in a blast at a crowded general bus stand in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir this afternoon.

Official sources said unidentifed miscreants hurled a hand grenade on a group of pilgrims awaiting a Jammu bound bus.Two devotees, including a woman and child, died on the spot, while others died on way to hospital. The injured were admitted to the SMHS hospital, where the condition of some of them was stated to be critical. The pilgrims hailed from Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh (MP).

A 'yatri' Rajesh Tiwari from UP told the sources that they were awaiting a Jammu bound bus, when panic spread after someone shouted loudly that there was a bomb at the bus stand. He said police came and searched the area, but found nothing. However, a little later there was a blast, Tiwari, who is also among the injured, said.

He said that mostly pilgrims were waiting in the area when the blast took place.

Tiwari said he along with 16 others had returned from Baltal after parying obeisance at the holy Amarnath Cave shrine. ''Since there was no bus available at Baltal, we were told to catch the bus from bus stand here for Jammu,'' he said.

''However, nine pilgrims remained at Baltal and we proceeded towards Srinagar,'' he added.

A large number of locals gathered outside the emergency ward of the SMHS hospital offering blood to save the injured.

Meanwhile, the breakaway Hurriyat Conference (HC) has strongly condemned the grenade attack on pilgrims.

It is an inhuman act of those who have no respect for humanity, a spokesman of the HC Aiyaz Akbar said.

He demanded an impartial inquiry into the incident to bring the culprits to book.

This was the first attack on pilgrims since the commencement of the two-month-long pilgrimage from June 18.

UNI

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