Bomb in Indian Kashmir kills prominent Muslim cleric

SRINAGAR (Reuters) – A bomb went off outside a mosque in Kashmir’s main city Friday, killing a prominent Muslim cleric, police and witnesses said, the first such attack near a religious place in recent years.

Moulana Showkat Shah, chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadith which is involved in social work, was entering the mosque to lead Friday prayers when the bomb went off. One worshipper was wounded.

No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack in Srinagar, the state’s summer capital.

Showkat, an associate of Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik, has been targeted in the past by suspected militants for his links with the moderate faction of the separatists.

Separatist violence in Kashmir, which is claimed in full but ruled in part by India and Pakistan, has fallen to its lowest since an armed rebellion broke out in 1989. Nearly 50,000 people have been killed since then.

But the state is still seething with anti-Indian sentiment, which last summer erupted into large-scale demonstrations for independence. More than 100 people were killed, mostly in police firing.

(Reporting by Sheikh Mushtaq; editing by C.J. Kuncheria and Sanjeev Miglani)

Bomb in Indian Kashmir kills prominent Muslim cleric