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06 Sep 2003 08:44
At least six people were killed and 25 injured when a powerful blast went off as an Indian army convoy drove through a fruit market in Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar, officials said.
“An army convoy carrying a brigadier was passing by but it is difficult to say whether it was hit. Six people have been killed and 25 others injured,” said Tirtha Acharya, spokesperson for India’s Border Security Force.
Two bodies lay completely dismembered on the street after the blast, which severely damaged five vehicles, including one used by the army, witnesses said.
Acharya said the blast was “most likely” triggered by explosives detonated in a vehicle.
Troops were sent to the market on the city’s outskirts, where residents fled their homes in panic to enquire about their relatives, officials said.
Shopkeepers downed their shutters and left as the entire area was sealed by security forces.
The blast disrupted traffic on a busy highway nearby.
The incident raises to 71 the number of people killed in Indian Kashmir since Sunday, a day after troops said they killed a top rebel commander, Gazi Baba, in Srinagar.
Baba was on the list of “most wanted” rebels after India accused him of masterminding an attack on its Parliament in December 2001 that killed 15 people, including the five attackers, and led to a military standoff with Pakistan.
More than 38 000 people have died in Indian Kashmir since the eruption of an anti-Indian rebellion in 1989.
Separatists put the toll between 80 000 and 100 000.—Sapa-AFP
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