//Grenade blast wounds many in Indian Kashmir

Grenade blast wounds many in Indian Kashmir

17 May 2006  Source: Reuters

JAMMU, India, May 17 (Reuters) – Suspected Muslim militants threw a grenade at a gathering of Hindu activists in Indian Kashmir on Wednesday, wounding more than a dozen people, police said.

"It exploded short of the intended target near Ram Leela ground in Doda where a sit-in protest has been going on," Lalit Mohanty, a senior police official, told Reuters by phone.

Some of the wounded were in serious condition.

The activists were protesting the killing of 35 Hindus by Islamist militants on May 1 in the Doda region in one of the biggest massacres in the past two years.

Wednesday's blast in Doda town, 100 km (62 miles) northeast of Jammu, winter capital of mainly Hindu India's only Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir, was the second grenade explosion in the area in less than a week.

A blast in Doda town on Saturday, aimed at a rally of India's main opposition party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, killed two people dead and wounded 41.

Hindus are a minority in Jammu and Kashmir and have been the targets of Islamist rebels fighting New Delhi's rule over the disputed Himalayan region.

Though violence levels have fallen in the past two years, militants continue bomb and gun attacks on troops and civilians.

More than 45,000 people have been killed in the separatist insurgency in the past 16 years.