Attacks kill 9 in Kashmir, including mom, 4 kids

By AIJAZ HUSSAIN, Associated Press Writer, 1 hour, 59 minutes ago

A suspected Islamic militant threw a hand grenade at a group of migrant laborers in Indian Kashmir, killing a woman and her four children Thursday in one of two attacks that claimed a total of nine lives in the disputed Himalayan region.

Separately, authorities imposed a curfew in the city of Jammu, clamping down on a Hindu nationalist protest, police said. The attacks and protests are part of a surge in unrest in recent months in the region that is claimed by both India and Pakistan.

The grenade attack in Srinagar, the region’s biggest city, occurred as families of migrant laborers waited to board a bus to go home, Police Superintendent Atul Goel said.

Mohammed Afroze, a worker from the northern Indian state of Bihar, lost his wife and four children, ages 4 to 12, in the attack. The blast wounded 21 more people, police spokesman Prabhakar Tripathi said.

In another incident, four members of a family were slain by unidentified gunmen in Marmath, a village 145 miles southwest of Srinagar, said Hemant Lohia, a senior police officer.

Lohia said the killers were Islamic separatists who attacked staged a retaliatory attack on the house of a former rebel, killing him and his wife, daughter and a nephew.

No group claimed responsibility for either attack. However, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an alliance of separatist political parties, issued a statement condemning the bus killings as “an attack to hit Kashmir’s economy.”

In Jammu, Hindu activists called a strike after the death Wednesday of a demonstrator who collapsed during a rally protesting a recent government decision to cancel the transfer of land to a Hindu shrine.

In response, authorities shuttered businesses and schools, kept traffic off the roads and told people to stay indoors. Jammu is a predominantly Hindu city within Kashmir, which is India’s only Muslim-majority state.

The state government revoked the transfer of 99 acres to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, the trust that runs the revered shrine, after Muslims staged demonstrations charging that the deal was an attempt to build Hindu settlements in the area and alter the demographics in Kashmir.

The reversal angered Hindus, who staged their own protests. At least six people have died and hundreds more suffered injuries in the protests.


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