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Srinagar: I-Day celebrated despite blasts

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | August 15, 2005 09:42 IST
Last Updated: August 15, 2005 13:17 IST


Despite 2 Improvised Explosive Devices going off outside the Bakshi stadium, the chief Independence day function in the valley went on unhindered and without disruption on Monday morning.

"Two IEDs fitted with time devices had been planted in the bushes inside the Iqbal park and they exploded this morning without causing any damage," a police officer in Srinagar said.

Frontline Hizbul Mujaheedin and Al-Mansoorain militant outfits called a local newsagency over phone to claim responsibility for the explosions.

Another pre-planned IED exploded in a deserted stadium at Pattan in north Kashmir Baramulla district on Monday morning. However, no one was injured in the blast.

While the locals preferred to remain indoors following unprecedented surveillance on the eve of  Independence day in Kashmir, security forces were seen patrolling the streets of Srinagar city. The authorities supplemented the arrangements for the first time with surveillence cameras around all vital installations in Srinagar.

The focus of security arrangements was the Bakshi stadium situated in the heart of the city where Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed unfurled the National flag and presided over a parade by police, paramilitary forces and contingents of school children.

A cultural programme followed the main parade at the stadium. Three days ahead of the function, the Bakshi stadium was declared out of bounds for all civilian movement. All roads leading to it were completely barricaded with spiked barriers and cross parked mobile bunkers.

A three-tier security was in place for the main parade while as all the high rise structures around the stadium had been evacuated of civilians and occupied by paramilitary sharp shooters with the twin objective of spotting suspicious movement around the venue and thwarting any attacks from high structures.

The 2 factions of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference had called for a shutdown on Monday. The city wore a deserted look on Monday as shops were closed and businesses shut. Traffic was completely off the roads.

Also read: Increased security for Aug 15

In his Independence day message, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said 'violence only complicates issues.'

He said there is no 'alterative to talks and he is happy that this fact has been recognised by India and Pakistan.'

The Chief Minister said Jammu and Kashmir had gone through a long phase of  bloodshed and violence resulting in massive loss of human lives and infrastructure.

He said every sector of the economy had borne the brunt of the turmoil. He said the time had come when 'violent means have to be given a burial' and democratic route taken to address problems.


 


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