Srinagar: A major tragedy was averted on Thursday in the Jammu and Kashmir summer capital when a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) was detected and defused by police.

'The IED was planted in the parking lot of a hotel close to a wine shop in the Boulevard Road area of the city. The bomb disposal squad of the state police defused the IED without any damage, thereby averting a major tragedy,' a police officer said.

The IED weighing four kg had been planted inside a container left in the parking lot of the hotel, police said.

The Boulevard Road in Srinagar circles the Dal Lake and is heavily thronged by tourists and locals.  Separatist guerrillas had banned the sale of liquor in Kashmir in early 1990s when insurgency started.

Prior to 1990, Srinagar had dozens of liquor shops which were closed down by the owners for fear of reprisal attacks from the separatist guerrillas. 

Currently, the city has a few liquor shops which are run through licences issued by the state government. These shops are located in high security zones of the city.