Suspected Islamic militant grenade kills 2, injures 35 in Kashmir

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JAMMU, India (AP) – Suspected Islamic militants hurled a grenade at a Hindu political rally in the Indian-controlled portion of disputed Kashmir on Saturday, killing two people and wounding at least 35, police and doctors said.

The explosion in the town of Doda targeted a political rally organized by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to protest the killings of 35 Hindus in attacks earlier this month, said Mustaq Ahmed, a local police officer.

One man died at the scene and another succumbed to injuries on his way to a hospital, Ahmed said. At least 35 people were wounded, he said. Four were in serious condition, said Basir Ahmed, the medical superintendent at the hospital treating them.

The victims included protesters and bystanders waiting at a nearby bus station.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. But police blamed separatist militants fighting for Muslim-majority Kashmir’s independence from predominantly Hindu India or its merger with mostly Muslim Pakistan.

In one of the attacks earlier month, militants disguised as soldiers gunned down 22 Hindus in the village of Thava – the single bloodiest attack by Islamic guerrillas in Kashmir since a 2003 cease-fire between India and Pakistan. In the other, 13 Hindu shepherds were abducted and killed Kashmir’s Udhampur district.

India and Pakistan both claim Kashmir in its entirety and have fought two wars over it since their independence from Britain in 1947. Each country controls a portion of the region, divided by a heavily armed frontier.

Indian accuses accused Pakistan of providing the separatists guerrillas with material aid. Pakistan denies the charge, saying it only supports the rebels’ cause morally. The nuclear-armed rivals are involved in a peace process to halt decades of hostility.


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