Blast victims shifted to Govt Medical College hospital for treatment, in Jammu. (PTI)

Hizbul Attacker Arrested In Jammu Bus Stand Blast That Killed One, Injured 32

A teenager was killed and 32 others were injured on Thursday in a grenade attack by suspected terrorists in the crowded general bus stand area in the heart of the city, officials said. Within hours, the police arrested a man whom they said was tasked by terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen to carry out the attack.

This is the third grenade attack by terrorists in Jammu bus stand since May last year, viewed by security agencies as an attempt to disturb communal harmony and peace in the city.

Mohammad Sharik, 17, a resident of Hardiwar in Uttarakhand, who was among 33 people brought to the hospital, succumbed to splinter injuries in the chest, the officials said. The grenade attack was carried out inside the general bus stand area around 11.50 am. The condition of four more injured persons was “critical” and two of them were operated upon by the doctors to save their lives, the officials said. The injured included 11 residents of Kashmir, two from Bihar and one each from Chattisgarh and Haryana, the officials said.

The scene of the blast along B C Road was sealed off by police, Inspector General of Police, Jammu, MK Sinha, who immediately rushed to the scene to take stock of the situation, told reporters.

Yasir Javed Bhat, a resident of Khanpora-Dassein village in Kulgam, was tasked by Hizbul Mujahideen district commander, Kulgam, Farooq Ahmad Bhat alias “Umar” to carry out the attack, Sinha said.

Bhat, who had reached Jammu along with the grenade only this morning after he left Kulgam last night, was fleeing back after the attack when he was arrested by alert policemen at Nagrota in the outskirts of the city, he said.

Producing Bhat before the media persons, Sinha termed his arrest as a “major breakthrough”. “As soon as we came to know about the grenade blast, the police party swung into action and along with civilians evacuated all the injured and took them to Government Medical College hospital where unfortunately Sharik could not survive despite a surgery,” IGP Sinha said.

Immediately after the explosion, people ran for safety and later as the situation returned to normal they evacuated the injured to the hospital. Police parties along with sniffer dogs and forensic experts rushed to the spot and launched a search operation.

Sinha said special teams were constituted and asked to go into evidence available and work on the leads. “The teams that were constituted tried assessing from the witnesses as to what they have seen, and the recordings of CCTV camera installed in the area were also seized.”

“Based on the oral testimony of the eye-witnesses and the CCTV coverage, we were able to identity a suspect who was wearing Jean jackets and carrying red rucksack,” he said. “Immediately all the check points of Jammu were alerted and asked to look for any person with the given description trying to move out of the city. One team led by sub-divisional police officer Nagrota during checking at Ban toll plaza found this boy who was going out of Jammu and was apprehended,” he said. “He was put to questioning and confessed the crime.”

The IGP said the accused had started from Kulgam with the grenade only yesterday and reached Jammu this morning. “After doing this heinous act, he tried to escape,” Sinha said, adding “we are ascertaining his age.”

Only preliminary questioning of the accused has been carried out so far, the IGP said. “What was his specific target and motive behind the grenade attack at the bus stand would emerge once the questioning is complete.”

(PTI)

A parked bus of the state road transport corporation suffered extensive damage in the blast which caused panic among the people.

“The blast occurred on the roadside when there was a huge rush of people. I had come to drop my wife who was going to board a bus to Punjab,” said one of the injured, Kuldeep Singh from the Pragwal area of the city.

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.

Political parties condemned the grenade attack with the Bharatiya Janata Party pledging to wipe out terrorism and the Congress expressing concern over security preparedness.

Governor Satya Pal Malik directed the administration to provide best medical assistance to the injured.

Earlier on Dec. 28-29 last year, suspected terrorists carried out a grenade attack on the bus stand with the intention to target the local police station building, an attack which took place seven months after another grenade attack along the B C Road left two policemen and a civilian injured on May 24, 2018.