14 injured in explosion near Abdullah’s rally in Indian-held Kashmir

NC candidate says explosions will not ‘discourage’ him

SRINAGAR – At least 14 people were injured on Sunday in an explosion near the venue of an election rally to be addressed by ruling National Conference leader Dr Farooq Abdullah, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported.

Abdullah, India’s union minister and former chief minister of the state, was scheduled to address the rally in Magam town of central Badgam district, some 30km from Srinagar. “About 14 people were injured in the explosion. Of them, 10 have been taken to hospital,” said a local police official, adding they were investigating the explosion.

Quoting eyewitnesses, the paper reported that some unidentified persons threw a hand grenade causing the explosion. Earlier, another explosion occurred 50 metres from an election rally being addressed by Abdullah in Khanyar area of the state capital. The paper reported that a grenade was thrown at the Khanyar Park where Abdullah was holding his rally.

Earlier, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had refuted in a tweet that there was any blast. “The election rally continues without disturbance and the police are working to ascertain the source of the noise that was heard,” he said. “These explosions will not deter me and should also not deter you from coming out and voting for the National Conference,” Abdullah told the rally.

“You must come out in large numbers and vote for my party on April 30,” the Kashmiri leader said. The paper also reported that no one has so far claimed responsibility for the explosions in the state.

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