SRINAGAR, India (AFP) - A grenade exploded outside a mosque in restive Indian Kashmir on Thursday, injuring 10 worshippers after morning prayers in the first such incident in 14 years, police said.
Police are investigating but it was unclear who was behind the blast in Trenz village in the southern Kashmir valley which has seen increased security following a recent rise in militant violence.
"Ten of them (worshipers) were injured, four have been shifted to a hospital in Srinagar," Altaf Khan, superintendent of police for the area, told AFP.
A caretaker picked up a steel cup containing the grenade left in the mosque's grounds, triggering the explosion as worshippers were leaving the building after prayers, Khan said.
Attacks at mosques are rare in the Muslim-majority state, where rebel groups have been fighting troops since 1989 for the region's independence or its merger with neighbouring Pakistan.
The fighting has left tens of thousands, mostly civilians, dead.
Security has been strengthened across Kashmir ahead of Saturday's celebrations marking India's independence from Britain, which usually see protests and strikes in the Himalayan region against Indian rule.
The incident follows a grenade attack on Wednesday on security forces in the congested old part of the main city of Srinagar that injured two paramilitaries and two police.
Suspected militants also attacked an army patrol in the Trenz area on Wednesday, injuring a soldier.
Another grenade was found outside the home of a member of Kashmir's largest militant group, Hizbul Mujahideen, not far from Trenz village on Thursday. Police later defused the device, superintendent Khan said.
Kashmir has been divided between rivals India and Pakistan since they won independence from Britain in 1947. Both claim the picturesque territory in its entirety.
Several people were killed when a grenade exploded at the Charar-e-Sharief mosque in central Kashmir in 2001. The same year, a bomb fitted to a bicycle outside a Srinagar mosque killed a cleric.