7 Dead in the Biggest Terror Attack on Amarnath Yatra in Years
- Terrorists killed at least seven Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and injured several others
- Terrorists targeted a bus that was carrying pilgrims in J&K’s Anantnag district
- PM Modi condemned the attack and said India will never get bogged down by such cowardly attacks
- Internet services have been banned in the area after the attack
- Troops of 90 and 40 battalion of the CRPF were rushed to the spot
- There was prior intelligence reports of possible terrorist attacks on Amarnath Yatri pilgrims
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Seven Amarnath pilgrims, six of them women, were killed in a terrorist attack and 32 others were injured in Anantnag on Monday, the police said.
At 8:20 pm, the terrorists attacked an armoured car of the police, an official said. When the police fired back, the attackers fled, firing indiscriminately, the official added. A bus carrying yatris was on the highway when the incident occurred.
Terrorists first attacked STF, SOG and CRPF at 20:15 hours at Khannabal and ran away towards Batingu. They then attacked the pilgrims who were in a bus (GJ 09 J 9976) at Batingu and escaped towards Arwani.
While escaping ,militants fired upon the camp LoC of G/90 Battalion located at Arwani.
Troops of 90 and 40 Battalion of the CRPF were rushed to the spot.
I Have No Words to Condemn This: Mehbooba Mufti
The deceased from Gujarat were identified as Hasuben Ratila Patal, Surakha Ben and Lakshimiben S Patal from Valsad, Ratan Zeena Bhai Patal of Daman and Prajapati Champaben of Navsari, a Jammu and Kashmir police spokesperson said.
Those from Maharashtra were Nirmala Ben Thakor, a resident of Palghar, and Usha Mohanla Sonkar of Danu.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met the injured yatris at a hospital in Anantnag, where they were admitted.
Speaking to the media, she said:
Eye-witnesses who were travelling in the bus said the terrorists fired at the bus from both sides.
Police Claim Bus Driver Violated Rules of Pilgrimage
The pilgrims were on their way back after visiting the Amarnath shrine. CRPF DG RR Bhatnagar told The Hindu that the Amarnath Yatra will be on and the decision to call it off or to continue is to be taken by the J&K government.
The police claimed the bus driver had violated rules for the pilgrimage, which state that no yatra vehicle should be on a highway after 7 pm.
News18 reported that there were three assailants, and one of them, Ismail, arrived on a motorbike and emptied two magazines on pilgrims.
Earlier, the Amarnath yatra was suspended from Jammu due to law and order situation in the Kashmir Valley under curfew for the death anniversary of militant commander Burhan Wani.
In a joint statement, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik expressed grief over the killing of seven Amarnath yatris.
Intel Suggested Terrorists Will Target Amarnath Yatra
A media report suggested that there were intelligence reports that predicted that terrorists were planning to attack Amarnath Yatra this year.
The intelligence report stated that as much as 150 pilgrims can be targeted with the intent to kill. It also states that around 100 cops are also likely to be 'eliminated'.
Images of Injured People
By Tuesday morning, Internet services were stopped in Jammu. Only BSNL broadband services with limited speed are working currently. Additionally, security was tightened in Anantnag. Commenting on the attack, Zulfiqar Hasan, IG (Operations), CRPF said:
PM Modi Condemns Attack
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack and said that he was "pained beyond words on the dastardly attack on peaceful Amarnath Yatris in J&K. The attack deserves strongest condemnation from everyone."
This Incident Should Ensure Elimination of Terrorism: Jaitley
Terming the terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims in Kashmir as the most reprehensible act, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said the incident should add to India's determination to eliminate terrorism.
The defence minister also conveyed his condolences to the families of those killed in the attack.
PM Modi Must Accept Security Lapses: Rahul
Congress President Sonia Gandhi too expressed sorrow over the attack targeting the pilgrims. She demanded an investigation into lapses in security.
Speaking along the lines of Sonia Gandhi, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said PM Modi must accept responsibility for security lapses.
Rajnath Singh Seeks Report From J&K CM, Governor
Home Minister Rajnath Singh called up J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Governor NN Vohra. Singh sought details of the attack from the CM and the Governor and also directed officials to ensure foolproof security in future.
More Politicians React to the Attack
Former CM of J&K Omar Abdullah tweeted:
This is not just an assault on yatris, this is an attack on composite culture of Kashmir, Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State(MoS) (Independent Charge) said.
Amit Shah, Meira Kumar, President Join in the Condemnation
BJP President Amit Shah rejected the attack calling it “a heinous act”.
President Mukherjee tweeted about the attack and said:
Meira Kumar extended her condolences to the families of the victims.
History of Attacks
In a series of planned massacres, militants had gunned down around 30 Amarnath Yatris in August 2000.
Hours after their strike at Amarnath pilgrims base camp at Pahalgam, the militants, believed to be opposed to the Hizbul Mujahideen’s ceasefire declaration, struck at five places killing at least 58 members.
There were attacks in the following two years as well with a total of around 20 people killed.