Two killed, 50 hurt in blast near Kashmir school

May 12th, 2005  

Topic: Two killed, 50 hurt in blast near Kashmir school



SRINAGAR (Reuters) - Suspected Muslim rebels detonated a grenade on Thursday as children left a Christian missionary school in
Kashmir, killing two women and wounding about 50 people including 20 pupils, police said.

"Please save me, I don't want to die. Call my parents," screamed a girl, her leg covered in blood, outside the school in Srinagar.

Distraught parents, many of them weeping, searched for their children at the scene of the blast in the centre of the main city of Kashmir where separatist rebels are waging a 15-year-old revolt against Indian rule.

"The grenade exploded as the schoolchildren were coming out of the gate of the school as it closed for the day," a police officer told Reuters.

Bloodstained school bags lay near the school gates. Bystanders and police carried the wounded high school pupils to police vehicles which took them to hospitals.

"There was a deafening sound and, after a moment, I saw many people lying down. I grabbed my children and ran for safety," Bilal Ahmad, a father of two pupils at the school, said.

Two teachers and 30 passers-by were also wounded in the blast.

"Two unidentified women succumbed to their injuries in the hospital," hospital official Showkat Ahmad said.

No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Violence has continued in Kashmir, the cause of two of three India-Pakistan wars, despite an 18-month-old peace process between the two nuclear-armed neighbours and intensified counter-insurgency operations by Indian troops.

On Wednesday, rebels set off a crude bomb in Srinagar, killing two people and wounding 35.

The new attacks are the worst in Srinagar since the two nations launched a cross-border bus service between the two parts of Kashmir last month, seen as a key step in the peace process


More than 45,000 people have been killed since 1989 in the revolt in Jammu and Kashmir.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reminded Pakistan on Thursday that New Delhi still expected Islamabad to do more to close camps of Kashmiri insurgents in Pakistani Kashmir.

"There should be immediate cessation of terrorist activities including the dismantling of terrorist infrastructure," Singh, who held talks with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in New Delhi last month to push the peace process, said.

"President Musharraf has assured us that Pakistan's soil will not be allowed for terrorist activities," Singh told the lower house of parliament without elaborating.

Although bilateral ties have improved, New Delhi still alleges that Muslim rebels in Kashmir operate from Pakistani Kashmir, a charge that Islamabad has denied.

An Indian intelligence official told Reuters last week that security forces were bracing for a summer of violence as rebel groups became desperate after many of their cadres had been killed by soldiers in the past few months.