7.5-magnitude quake jolts Indian-controlled Kashmir

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir  — A major earthquake Monday hit Indian-controlled Kashmir and its adjoining areas, officials said.

According to Meteorological Department officials in Srinagar, summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, the earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale occurred at 2:39 p.m. local time.

“The epicentre of today’s earthquake was in Hindukush region of Afghanistan located at 36.5 degrees north latitude and 70.8 degrees east longitude,” said an official of the Meteorological Department.

The earthquake was felt throughout Kashmir and its tremors triggered panic among residents, officials said.

Locals rushed out of their houses to open spaces for safety.

“It was a massive earthquake and I thought everything will collapse,” Muddasir Ahmad, a local resident, told Xinhua.

“The ground was shaking and for a moment I thought houses will fall down and people around me were shouting and praying in chaos. “

However, officials said no major damage has so far been reported in the affected areas.

“The earthquake has caused some cracks to buildings and bridges but there are no reports of major damage caused by the earthquake, ” Altaf Bukhari, a minister in the local government told media.

Local newspaper reported that two women died of heart attack due to earthquake in the region.

Reports said the tremors were also felt in other cities in India including capital New Delhi.

Geologists say Indian-controlled Kashmir is located in a zone of high seismic activity.

Srinagar falls in Seismic Zone-V and other parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir in Seismic Zone IV.

A high intensity quake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale with its epicentre in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan- controlled Kashmir shook the region on October 8, 2005 causing large scale destruction and killing 80,000 people. PNA/Xinhua