Explosion in Jammu and Kashmir injures 18

SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir 

At least 18 people were injured in an explosion at a crowded bus station in Jammu city on Thursday, police said.

Confirming the casualties, Inspector General of Police in Jammu MK Sinha, told reporters: “It was a grenade explosion. All the injured have been shifted to hospital.”

He said a search operation has been launched to nab the attacker.

Last month, after a suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary personnel, there was mob violence against Kashmiri Muslims in Jammu city, which is dominated by a Hindu population. The government imposed curfew in the city after vehicles belonging to Kashmiri Muslims were torched and drivers beaten.

Thursday’s attack comes at a time of heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, and about two months before general elections in India.

Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.

Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.