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Blast in car near CRPF convoy on highway;NIA team visits scene, collects samples

Blast 3

Jammu, Mar 30: A CRPF vehicle was slightly damaged Saturday when a private car went up in flames after an explosion, apparently caused by a gas cylinder, on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, police said.
There were no casualties in the incident that occurred near the Jawahar Tunnel — the gateway to the Kashmir valley — in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ramban district around 10.30 am.
“It has not been established whether it was a (terror) attack or not. It has also not been established why the vehicle caught fire,” Governor Satya Pal Malik told reporters in Jammu. “No explosive of sorts, but nothing can be said (at the moment).”
The incident triggered memories of the February 14 vehicle-borne suicide attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pulwama that claimed the lives of over 40 personnel.
According to a preliminary investigation, the blast near Tethar village, seven km from Banihal town in Jammu region, occurred after one of the two gas cylinders in the Hyundai Santro model caught fire.
Banihal sub-divisional police officer Sajad Sarwar said the vehicle, which was on the way to Jammu from Srinagar, was completely gutted in the fire.
A CRPF vehicle, which was passing through the highway at the time of the incident, suffered slight damage in the rear side, but all the personnel on board escaped unhurt, Sarwar said. Around 10 vehicles were reported to be part of the convoy.
“Another gas cylinder was found lying near the vehicle, but no explosive substance was found,” the officer said, but he did not ruled out a militancy angle.
The driver of the private car remained untraced and is believed to have escaped the scene after his vehicle caught fire, he said.
Later in the day, a team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) visited Banihal to collect samples from the scene of the blast.
Quoting official sources, news agency GNS said that a team of NIA arrived at Banihal late afternoon and visited the blast scene. They collected samples, the officials said. An official of the NIA also confirmed collection of the samples but declined to comment further.
Earlier, police sources said that a team from the Hyundai Motors India visited the scene and based on the chassis and other details, identified the owner of the vehicle. It has been registered on 21 February 2011, they said.
“Hitherto, it seems to be a cylinder blast. A team of NIA also visited the spot and collected samples. Further investigations are underway,” SDPO Sajad Sarwar told GNS.
Asked about the possibility of militant attack and use of remote-controlled explosion, he said: “Possibility could be anything. Investigations are underway but so far it comes to be cylinder blast.”
Asked about the fate of driver, he said: “We are trying to trace the driver and this (driver’s escape) is making the case a bit suspicious.”
The driver of the Santro Car allegedly disappeared from the spot and police has so far not established whether he fled away or rushed to hospital in order to get treatment for the injuries which he might have suffered in the incident.
Police have launched a manhunt to find out the driver. Traffic on the strategic highway was also halted due to the blast and it resumed soon. (With inputs from GNS)

Man shot dead in Baramulla
Srinagar, Mar 30: A 35-year old shopkeeper was killed by unknown gunmen at Baramulla town in north Kashmir on Saturday evening.
A senior Police officer said that the man namely Arjumand Hussain (35) alias Raju Mistry, a resident of old town Khawajabagh Baramulla was fired upon by militants in main town Baramulla leaving him critically injured.
The officer further said that he was shifted to nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead by the doctors who operated upon him.
Soon after the incident, a joint team of police, army and SOG reached the spot and launched a hunt to nab the assailants. (GNS)


2 youth injured in forces’ firing in Pulwama
Srinagar, Mar 30: Two youth, riding a motorcycle, were injured when army opened fire at them after they allegedly ignored a signal to stop at Bandzoo area of Pulwama in south Kashmir.
A police officer said at around 18:15 hours, army signaled to stop a motorcyclist alongwith with pillion at Bandzoo Pulwama. The motorcyclist ignored the signal and tried to flee from the spot after which army fired few gun shots due to which they suffered injuries. The injured were identified as Aqib Ahad Dar of Ashmander and the motorcyclist Shahid Farooq of Prichoo Pulwama.
Both have been shifted to Srinagar hospital for specialized treatment.


CRPF man injured in Pulwama grenade blast
Srinagar, Mar 30: A paramilitary CRPF man was injured after militants on Saturday hurled a grenade on CRPF bunker near SBI Branch in Pulwama district of south Kashmir.
A police officer said that militants attacked a bunker of paramilitary CRPF 182 bn guarding the SBI branch Pulwama.
“In the blast, one CRPF trooper suffered injuries. The injured have been evacuated to hospital for treatment where his condition is said to be stable,” he said.
Soon after the incident government forces have launched a hunt to nab the attackers. (GNS)