Grenade attack on minister kills three

Suspected militants fired a grenade Thursday at the motorcade of a local politician in Indian - administered Kashmir , killing three bystanders and wounding at least 20 others , police said .
The attack occurred as Nayeem Akhtar , a local government minister , was passing through the southern town of Tral. He escaped unhurt .
“ Three civilians were killed in the attack . We are investigating , ” director general of police S . P . Vaid told AFP , adding it appeared a grenade launcher was used to fire the explosive.
At least 20 people , including 10 government forces personnel , were also injured in the blast in the disputed Himalayan territory , he added .
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947 . Both claim the restive territory in full .
Rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces for decades demanding independence or a merger with Pakistan . India maintains roughly 500 , 000 troops in Kashmir .
At least 140 armed militants , including some senior commanders , have been killed since the start of the year by government forces .
Militant ranks have swelled since security forces shot dead a hugely popular rebel commander, Burhan Wani , last year.
Wani was a native of Tral where Thursday’ s attack was staged.
His death sparked months of deadly anti - India protests and a military crackdown that left more than 100 civilians dead and thousands more injured .
Last month militants attacked a police base in southern Kashmir valley , killing eight soldiers. The three attackers were also killed in the firefight.
On Wednesday evening suspected rebels attacked security forces and stole weapons in southern Banihal town , killing one and injuring another .