A US senator and an Indian activist were barred from visiting Jammu and Kashmir, where at least 10 people were injured on Saturday in a grenade blast as a government security and communications lockdown entered the third month.
Director-General of Police Dilbagh Singh said the blast was caused by a militant attack and occurred near the office of a civil administrator in Anantnag. He said a police official and a journalist were among those hurt and suffered minor injuries.
"It was a militant attack," he said, without elaborating. "Police are probing to identify and nab the culprit.
Senator Chris Van Hollen denied permission to visit
"Senator Chris Van Hollen, part of a US congressional delegation visiting India on trade and other issues, told reporters on Friday in New Delhi that the Indian government had denied his request to travel to Kashmir. The Maryland Democrat said Washington was "closely monitoring the humanitarian situation" in Kashmir. The House Foreign Affairs Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on human rights in South Asia later this month, and Kashmir is expected to be a focus.
Sandeep Pandey, an education reformer, said he and other activists were barred from leaving the airport in Srinagar, where they had travelled Friday for an informal fact-finding mission."We were held up and we don't know what it was done," Pandey said at a news conference Saturday in New Delhi. The district magistrate restricted him from travelling beyond the arrivals lounge, citing a law that limits public gatherings, according to a copy of the order. The 54-year-old intended "to organize protests" against the constitutional changes in Kashmir, according to the order. Pandey denied the charge.
Lockdown enters the third month
Mobile internet and phone services have been cut and landline phone access remains spotty, disrupting daily life and business in the valley, home to about 70 lakh people. More than 2,000 people, including mainstream political leaders, are locked up or under house arrest.Ram Madhav, a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, said leaders under house arrest in Kashmir would be released soon, the Press Trust of India news agency reported."Prevention detention in five-star hotels with good facilities with TVs and books and all those things is a temporary measure to ensure law and order in the state," PTI quoted Mahdav as saying.
No foreign journalists have received permission from the Indian government to report in Kashmir since August 5, although Indian citizens who work for foreign news organisations, including The Associated Press, have been able to report from the region.