The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tourists struck again

July 12: A grenade was lobbed into a tourist bus in Kashmir in a repeat of yesterday’s attack that has killed seven pilgrims from Bengal, one of whom died in hospital today.

Six holidaymakers, including two from Bengal, were injured in the attack on a parked bus at Gulmarg, 45 km from Srinagar, this afternoon. They had just boarded the bus after returning from a cable car ride.

“My younger brother left with a colleague on July 1 and they were supposed to return on July 17. But we have just come to know that they are injured in the grenade attack at Gulmarg,” said Krishna Sinha Chowdhury, sister of Tukaram Dutta, one of the wounded.

Dutta, 45, an assistant accounts officer in the office of the accountant-general, is a resident of Chinsurah in Hooghly. The other injured tourist from Bengal is Chhanda Sen, of Behrampore in Murshidabad.

Today’s attack came even as the police arrested four persons for the five blasts across Srinagar yesterday, following the interrogation of a man caught on suspicion of lobbing one of the grenades.

All the four arrested ' three in Srinagar and one at Anantnag ' were probably used to carry out the grenade attacks which killed two labourers from Bihar apart from the pilgrims.

Ashis Ghosh Roy, director of the Geological Survey of India, who was admitted to SMHS Hospital with splinter wounds and put on a life support system, was the seventh pilgrim to die. His wife, Kaberi, and three members of her family were among the six who died yesterday.

Their bodies arrived in the city this evening but it took three hours before they could be taken home from the airport, because the death certificates had not reached.

Security forces now looking for Bilal, the suspected mastermind who allegedly distributed the grenades to seven people at Lal Chowk last morning, a senior official posted in Srinagar said. A list of names was seized from one of those arrested, Mudassir. These were possibly youths Bilal had recruited to lob the grenades.

Union home secretary V.K. Duggal said Abu Hamz, an area commander of Lashkar-e-Toiba in Anantnag who was involved in supplying grenades, has been neutralised.

But the repeat attack has rattled tourists, who were flocking to the state in large numbers this year.

“Six tourists, two from Delhi, two from West Bengal, one from Jammu and one unidentified tourist, were wounded in the grenade attack,” said A.S. Lone, deputy inspector-general of police, north Kashmir range.

Sinha Chowdhury, who spoke to her injured brother over phone, said: “My brother told me not to worry as he is feeling well.”

Sen’s family in Murshidabad could not be contacted till late tonight.

Bengal tourism minister Manab Mukherjee arrived in Srinagar and was assured by the administration here that adequate steps had been taken to protect tourists. He visited various hotels and guest houses around Dal Lake in the Dal Gate area where most of the tourists have put up.

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