Civilian killed, 33 injured in grenade attack
HM used 9th Class student for terror act
JAMMU, Mar 7: In a major success, Jammu Police today arrested a Hizbul Mujahideen militant of South Kashmir within few hours after he lobbed powerful grenade in a crowded area at General Bus Stand in which a civilian from Uttarakhand was killed and 32 others were injured, three of them seriously, while some vehicles parked at the site of explosion were damaged.
Hizbul Mujahideen district commander Farooq Ahmad Bhat (code name Umar), based in Kulgam district of South Kashmir had masterminded the blast in Jammu to target innocent people in crowded areas to disturb peace in the City.
Police sources told the Excelsior that the Hizbul Mujahideen militant identified as Yasir Javed Bhat alias Arhan son of Javed Ahmed Bhat, a resident of Khanpora Dassan, who carried out the grenade attack at Bus Stand, was just a 9th class student of British School at Khanpora Dassan in Kulgam district of South Kashmir.
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He was lured into militancy by Farooq Ahmed Bhat (code name Umar). Jammu Police have established contact with their Kulgam counterparts to ascertain more details about Yasir.
However, this was reportedly the first terror act committed by Yasir, sources said.
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Jammu Zone, MK Sinha, accompanied by DIG Jammu range, Vivek Gupta and SSP Jammu, Tejender Singh, told a hurriedly convened press conference this evening that the militant involved in grenade attack at Bus Stand Jammu, was arrested by an alert police party of Nagrota at Ban Toll Plaza when he was trying to escape to Kulgam.
Sources said after throwing the grenade, militant had boarded Tavera Taxi from the Bus Stand and had to board off at Qazigund for returning to Kulgam when Nagrota police teams headed by SDPO Mohan Lal Sharma and SHO Inspector Deepak Pathania spotted the boy wearing same dress, which had been communicated to all nakas by the police after obtaining CCTV footage from near the blast site.
The militant tried to claim that he was an innocent person returning to Kashmir but soon gave up when confronted with evidence and admitted his involvement in the blast, sources said.
Sinha said the militant Yasir Javed Bhat was given grenade by Umar in Kulgam yesterday. The militant took off from Kulgam last evening, reached Jammu this morning, lobbed the grenade at General Bus Stand, Jammu at 11.50 am and started his return journey to Kulgam.
However, soon after the blast, police parties took eyewitness account and examined CCTV footage in which a suspect was identified, who was wearing jeans, jacket and carrying red rucksack. Immediately, all police nakas were alerted and given pictures of the militant obtained from the CCTVs. A police party managed to arrest the militant at Ban Toll Plaza, the IGP Jammu said, adding the militant has confessed the crime.
Replying to a question as to whether previous two grenade attacks at General Bus Stand Jammu were also handiwork of Yasir, Sinha said all this was part of the investigations and will be known only during his questioning. Asked whether any more militant was involved in executing the task, he said the investigations were just at the preliminary stage. Only interrogation of the militant will reveal whether he alone was involved in the blast or someone else had helped him.
The Jammu Police chief said it was being ascertained whether Yasir had been given generic or specific target. However, he added, the inputs continued to pour in about militants trying to target crowded and religious places.
To a question that the militants managed to reach Jammu from South Kashmir carrying grenade without checking at nakas, he said: “It was because of police alertness at the nakas that the militant was arrested within hours of the grenade attack, which was worth appreciating”.
“The General Bus Stand might have been targeted by the militants as it was crowded place and would have caused maximum impact,” Sinha said, adding motive of the blast would be known only after the investigations.
Earlier, at about 11.50 am, the militant lobbed powerful grenade targeting crowded place at Bus Stand platform near U-market where number of buses including those of State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC), were ready to leave for Punjab and other places while some inter-State buses including one from Uttarakhand, had just arrived.
Thirty-four civilians including 10 hailing from Jammu, 11 from Kashmir and 12 from outside the State were injured in the blast and were rushed to the Government Medical College, Jammu by local people and police teams comprising SHO Bus Stand Inspector Rajesh Jasrotia.
Senior police officers reached the spot for investigations and the Bus Stand was cordoned off. However, it was thrown open for normal movement of buses after about two hours.
Government Medical College (GMC), Jammu, Principal, Dr Sunanda Raina told the Excelsior that 34 blast victims were admitted in the hospital. Of them, she said, Mohammad Sharik, 17, son of Intezar, a resident of Uttarakhand, succumbed to his injuries. Sharik was a tailor working at Khanabal, Anantnag and was returning there after visiting his hometown in Uttarakhand.
Dr Raina said out of 33 injured, condition of three was still critical. She identified the seriously injured patients as Mohammad Rayaz, 32, Satpal, 40, a resident of Akhnoor and Varinder Kumar, 21, son of Jagdish R/o Akalpur.
Sources said majority of the injured were travelers while some of them were shopkeepers and rehriwallahs in the vicinity of the area. Some vehicles parked in the area suffered damage after being hit by splinters of the grenade.
Shopkeepers and other people of Bus Stand extended help to police and medical teams in evacuating the injured to the GMC Jammu. Some of the injured were shifted to hospital in private vehicles.
“The blast occurred on the roadside when there was huge rush of people. I had come to drop my wife who was going to board a bus to Punjab,” one of the injured, Kuldeep Singh of Pargwal area in Akhnoor tehsil of Jammu district said. Singh, who is undergoing treatment along with his wife at Government Medical College hospital for injuries, said he felt that somebody hurled something which caused the powerful explosion.
Meanwhile, Governor Satya Pal Malik has strongly condemned the grenade attack at Bus Stand Jammu and described it as cowardly attack. He conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and also wished speedy recovery to the injured.
He announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to next of kin of the deceased and Rs 20,000 to each injured. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley condemned the grenade attack and wished speedy recovery to the injured.
“The grenade attack in Jammu is condemnable, I wish the injured a speedy recovery,” Jaitley tweeted.
Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Dr Jitendra Singh condemned the blast and described it as an “inhuman act”.
“Nothing more condemnable and inhuman. Militants on the run, now targeting innocent civilians and soft targets,” Dr Jitendra Singh tweeted.
He said the situation calls each one of us to exercise highest degree of alertness.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and former J&K Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad has also condemned the blast and expressed sympathies with family of the deceased and injured.
Advisors to Governor, Khursheed Ganai and K Skandan visited the Government Medical College Jammu and enquired condition of the injured. They directed for best medical facilities to the injured.
List of injured
Gowhar Ahmed 29/M S/o Gh. Ahmed Bhat Qazigund
Mushtaq Ahmed 40/M S/o Abdul Qadil Qazigund
Tariq Ahmed Bhat 44/M Qazigund
Shabir Ahmed 44/M Qazigund
Gulfam S/o Iqram Uttrakhand
Saqir S/o Bashir Qazigund
Bansi Dass 27/M S/o Shanker Dass Jajjar Kotli
Bilal 25/M S/o Gulzar Ahmed Qazigund
Nisha 35/F S/o Kuldeep Singh Pargwal
Kuldeep Singh 42/M S/o Garib Singh Pargwal
Sukh Lal 35/M S/o Darsu Chhattisgarh
Shamsher Ahmed 22/M S/o Mohd. Hussain Rajouri
Chunni Lal 71/M S/o Shiv Dass Haryana
Mohd. Fareed 39/M S/o Mohd. Saraju Din Bihar
Harjeet Singh 42/M S/o Jagir Singh Punjab
Jameel Ali 20/M S/o Mohd. Sadiq Poonch
Danish Ahmed Chopam 07 S/o Nazir Ahmed Chopam Kashmir
Ab Hamid 25/M S/o Ali Mohd. Kulgam
Sat Pal 40/M Akhnoor
Rajesh Kumar 72/M
Sahil 18/M Kashmir
Touseef Ahmed 12/M
Nisar Ahmed 42/M S/o Ab. Kabir Bhat Anantnag
Mohinder Pal 35/M S/o Sudama Ram Talab Tillo
Mohan Singh 55/M S/o Bhagwan Singh Miran Sahib
Sukhdev Singh S/o Mohan Singh Janipur
Mohd. Rayaz 32/M
Varinder Kumar 21/M S/o Jagdish Akalpur
Ayaz S/o Nizam-ud-Din UP
G R Virdi 74/M S/o Shiv Ram Virdi Haryana
Adalat Hussain 31/M C/o CRPF
3rd attack at Bus Stand in 9 months
Today’s grenade attack at General Bus Stand Jammu was third during past about nine months.
On May 24, 2018, a militant had lobbed a grenade targeting Bus Stand police station Gypsy late in the evening in which half a dozen persons, four of them cops including SHO Rajesh Jasrotia were injured.
On December 29, 2018, a militant lobbed a grenade targeting the Bus Stand police station building but missed the intended target. Over a dozen civilians and some cops were injured in the blast.
Police said in May 24, 2018 blast, a militant identified as Mom Kak was arrested and charged with grenade attack. After spending six months in jail, he has been bailed out.
While the militant involved in today’s grenade attack at Bus Stand Jammu was arrested within few hours, police was yet to nab the militant, who had carried out the attack on December 29, 2018.