Suspected militants hurled grenade at public meeting in Indian Kashmir

Suspected militants hurled a grenade at a public meeting in Indian Kashmir Tuesday, injuring at least 21 people in an upsurge of violence in the restive state after four people were killed in an attack the previous day. Ghulam Hassan Mir, a former state tourism minister, was addressing a meeting in Tangmarg when rebels flung the grenade and fled, police said.

Mir sustained a splinter wound on his foot while 20 others were injured, said Junaid Ahmed, a top police officer in Srinagar, the summer capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state.

Tangmarg is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Srinagar. Earlier Tuesday, soldiers captured a Muslim militant trying to escape from a hotel in Srinagar where a group of guerrillas had holed up since Monday afternoon after attacking a police compound in Lal Chowk, a business district in Srinagar.

"We have captured a militant in an injured state. He is severely injured and may not survive," Deputy Inspector General S.R. Ahuja told The Associated Press.

He said the militant was armed with a grenade and an AK-47 rifle. Two civilians and two soldiers were killed in Monday's attack. Six others were injured, including a Japanese freelance photographer, Takeshi Sakuragi, 27, who suffered a serious bullet wound to the jaw.

He was out of danger after being operated on at Srinagar's Sri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital. Unable to speak because of the injury, Sakuragi wrote a message for his mother in Japanese and English on an Associated Press reporter's notebook.

"To mother. Don't worry about me. I am OK. I am sorry. When I recover I will come back (to) Japan. From Takeshi," the English version read. The Al-Mansoorain rebel group took credit for the attack on the police compound. It is one of many groups that have been fighting Indian security forces in the Himalayan region of Kashmir since 1989, reports the AP. I.L.

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