Five civilians and two security men were injured in a grenade explosion which occurred at Pratap Park near Lal Chowk here this afternoon.
The explosion occurred around 12.20 PM when there was rush of vendors and customers in Sunday Market.
Police said militants hurled a grenade towards some security personnel at Pratap Park. The grenade exploded with a big bang causing a crater on ground. The splinters hit two CRPF men in the park and five civilians on Residency Road.
The explosion caused panic with people running helter skelter. The footpath vendors and customers ran for safety. Later the injured were removed to the hospital.
The injured included two flower sapling sellers, who were standing and selling the saplings on the footpath of Residency Road. The grenade splinters hit them there. However, two other sapling sellers who were near them sitting on the footpath had a narrow escape as the concrete plinth of the boundary wall of the park protected them from flying splinters.
“As I heard the deafening sound of the blast, I started running without bothering about the items which I had put on stall for sale. My customers also ran in panic,” said a vendor.
He added that there was total chaos and confusion. “The panic led to a stampede also. When the order was restored after a while, the injured were removed to hospital,” he said.
Senior police and security officials also reached the spot. Reinforcement of police and security forces also arrived. The normal work on Residency Road came to a halt for some time. The traffic movement was also stopped.
After the security and police personnel finished their investigations, life was back to normal at Residency Road and Lal Chowk. The vendors returned to their places and resumed their work. Customers also reached back.
However, security was beefed up in Civil Lines area after the grenade attack. The vehicles were being stopped at check points for searches and frisking of occupants.
Large number of vendors set up their stalls in Sunday Market from TRC Crossing to Lal Chowk on Sundays. The vendors occupy the foot-path of Residency Road and also some portion of the road. The cops stop the traffic movement from Radio Crossing towards Polo View.
Residency Road, Lal Chowk and Regal Chowk have witnessed grenade explosions in the past also particularly during early nineties. Since November last year, some grenade explosions also occurred in the city. Some time back an attack was carried out at Zakoora on outskirts of city, later police claimed to have solved the case and arrested those behind the attack.
A grenade attack at Sarai Bala here last year killed a toy seller from outside J&K and injured local civilians.
Security personnel are being deployed in strength at sensitive areas since August 5 for security reasons.