3 Indian soldiers wounded in Kashmir blasts

Story highlights

  • The hand grenades were thrown at two paramilitary bunkers, a police official says
  • The attacks came days after a minister said troops would withdraw from some areas
  • Kashmir has seen separatist violence for more than 20 years
Three Indian paramilitary soldiers were wounded Tuesday when two powerful hand grenades exploded in Srinagar, the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, authorities said.
Tuesday's blasts came days after the state's chief minister, Omar Abdullah, announced the decision to partially withdraw from certain areas designated as special zones by emergency laws imposed in 1990.
The laws -- the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) -- give sweeping powers and immunity to Indian security forces performing counter-insurgency duties in the troubled region.
However, the formal decision about which areas would be vacated has yet to be announced. Abdullah said the "improved security situation in the state" was one reason for the withdrawal.
Rights groups have long been pressing for the revocation of the acts.
A police spokesman said militants lobbed hand grenades at two sites about 2 km apart -- one at Budshah Chowk and the other at Batmallo in the capital, Srinagar. The explosions injured three troopers from the paramilitary central reserve police force.
"Militants attacked two bunkers of the paramilitary with hand grenades," the spokesman said.
The injured troopers were evacuated to a hospital for treatment, the spokesman added.
The blasts triggered panic, and the areas were quickly cordoned off as authorities conducted searches for the assailants. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Kashmir has been in the throes of separatist violence for the past 20 years. The violence has claimed more than 40,000 lives, according to the official count, but several human rights groups and other non-governmental organizations believe the number of dead is at least twice that amount.