| A soldier stands near the body of a suspected militant after the car bomb exploded outside the Radio Kashmir complex. (Reuters)
Srinagar, April 26: Militants attacked the Radio Kashmir complex in the heart of the high-security zone in Srinagar this afternoon, in the second suicide attack in less than 26 hours.
Five persons, including three fidayeen and two paramilitary personnel were killed and two injured in the car-bomb explosion and the subsequent gunbattle, which continued for nearly an hour, police said.
This was the second fidayeen attack in Kashmir in the past 26 hours. Yesterday, militants had attacked the Border Security Force sector headquarters at Bandipora. Six persons, including two BSF soldiers, were killed in the gunbattle.
Witnesses to today’s attack said three militants approached the heavily-fortified entrance of Radio Kashmir and detonated the explosives-laden car, destroying the main gate. The explosion shook the area and passers-by ran helter-skelter.
“The fidayeen later hurled grenades and fired on the paramilitary personnel manning the bunkers at the main gate,” said a traffic policeman.
Two militants tried to enter the main building, but soldiers of the Central Reserve Police Force opened fire, killing one. The other, however, continued to fire from his automatic rifle. BSF personnel were rushed to the spot.
The troops later shot dead the fidayeen on the Radio Kashmir premises, while the third militant was gunned down near a mosque. “The CRPF guards did not allow the fidayeen to enter the main building,” said a police officer.
Panic-stricken employees of Radio Kashmir were inside the building as troops battled the fidayeen outside. However, no employee was injured.
“We were inside the building when suddenly a deafening explosion shook the complex. This was followed by heavy firing outside,” said an employee.
Chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed condemned the attack. “The militants have attacked the media and freedom of press,” he said. He praised the courage of Radio Kashmir director Rafiq Masoodi. “Continuing transmission despite the attack speaks volumes of their (the employees’) sense of duty,” said the chief minister.
Minister escapes attack
In another incident today, finance minister Muzaffar Hussain Beigh narrowly escaped a blast at Azad Gunj in northern Kashmir’s Baramulla district, says a Reuters report.
The explosion occurred when the minister, with J&K Bank managing-director Mohammad Yousuf Khan and district officials, went to inspect the renovation of a park, official sources said. Beigh, who remained unhurt, was barely 10 feet away when the blast occurred.
Eleven civilians, including two children, were injured. No outfit has claimed responsibility for the blast.