5 killed, 25 injured in Kashmir blast

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Srinagar, Jul 24 (UNI) Five people, mostly outside labourers, were killed and 25 others, including seven Amarnath pilgrims, were injured in a blast at a crowded general bus stand at Batmaloo in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir this afternoon.

Official sources said unidentified miscreants hurled a hand grenade on a group of people, including some pilgrims, waiting for a Jammu bound bus.

Earlier, the people present in the area ran for safety after someone shouted that there was a bomb. However, police searched the spot and left after sometime without finding anything.

Police said three people died on the spot and 27 others were injured in the blast, sound of which was heard in the entire area.

The injured were admitted to SMHS hospital, where two more were declared brought dead. The condition of some of the injured is stated to be critical.

The deceased were identified as Khushboo and Mohammad Abid, children of Mohammad Afroz. Other three deceased were yet to be identified, sources added.

The injured said a bus with the labourers from outside had left for Jammu an hour earlier and they were waiting for another bus to leave the valley.

A yatri, Rajesh Tiwari from Uttar Pradesh (UP) admitted in SMHS hospital told UNI that they were awaiting a Jammu bound bus, when panic spread after someone shouted that there was bomb at the bus stand.

A little later there was a blast, Tiwari said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

He demanded an impartial inquiry into the incident to arrest the culprits.

Several social and political organisation have also strongly condemmed the grenade attack.

The State Secretary of Communist Party of India (M) Mohammad Yousuf Targami said the blast was caused by those who are enemies of humanity and people of Jammu and Kashmir.

UNI BAS LPB BD1703

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