Omar Abdullah escapes unhurt, explosion wounds 13


Srinagar : National Conference (NC) president Omar Abdullah Monday survived an attempt on his life even as 13 people including five paramilitary personnel, two policemen and six civilian bystanders were wounded in the attack in a north Kashmir town.

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Police said separatist militants tossed a hand grenade at an NC rally as it was dispersing after Abdullah finished his speech in the afternoon at Kralgund near Handwara, 80 km from here.

"I was having tea with my party workers when the explosion occurred. There were some firing shots after the explosion. I later left with my security men. I don't know how many were injured," Abdullah told IANS on phone.

"The grenade exploded as the workers were leaving the venue and Abdullah was entering the house of a party worker," said a senior police officer here.

He said in all 13 people were injured in the powerful explosion, including five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers, two cops and six civilians.

"All the injured were immediately taken to hospital for treatment. The condition of two CRPF men is serious," the police officer said.

Police and paramilitary troops immediately surrounded the area and launched searches.

However, no one was detained. No militant group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Witnesses said the explosion triggered heavy panic as locals ran helter-skelter for safety.

Abdullah, a former central minister, was escorted to Srinagar later.