1. Seven Amarnath pilgrims from Gujarat were killed and 14 others injured when terrorists opened fire on a bus near Batengoo in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Monday.
2. This is not the first-time attacks Amarnath pilgrims have been attacked. In July 2001, a militant hurled two grenades at a camp and later opened fire near the Amarnath shrine killing nearly 13 people. The next year, even though nearly 15,000 security personnel and policemen were deployed to offer protection to the pilgrims, terrorists killed eight pilgrims and injured 30 in an attack on the Nunwan camp on the way to the Amarnath shrine.
3. This latest attack on Monday, coming on the first day of “Shravan” and associated with the Hindu god Shiva who is central to the pilgrimage, added to the outrage over the killings. Police sources said the terrorists initially attacked a police bunker at Batengoo. The fire was returned but there was no report of injuries. It was after that the bus was attacked. Initial reports said the bus was not registered with the Amarnath shrine board and was travelling after permitted hours and therefore without adequate security.
4. Several parties, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party, the National Conference and the Congress called for a bandh in Jammu on Tuesday to protest the killings. “We have called for Jammu bandh tomorrow against the death of seven Amarnath pilgrims in a terror attack at Anantnag,” VHP spokesman Rajesh Kumar said.
5. Senior Union home ministry officials are scheduled to visit J&K on Tuesday. They include minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir and Kashmir joint secretary Gyaneshwar Kumar. J&K Governor NN Vohra has also called for a meeting in Srinagar, said ANI. Separately, a high-level meet is underway at home minister Rajnath Singh‘s residence to discuss the attack.
6. Meanwhile, CRPF officials told ANI the Amarnath yatra will continue from Jammu Tuesday. “It’s being investigated by J&K police. Yatra is going on, we will ensure that it goes on peacefully”, said a CRPF official. Union home minister Rajnath Singh has spoken with J&K governor N.N. Vohra and chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and has assured full assistance to help the injured.
7. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday night strongly condemned the dastardly terror attack on the pilgrims in Kashmir. He said that India will “never get bogged down by such cowardly attacks and evil designs of hate”. The PM said he spoke to J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and assured all possible assistance.
8. J&K’s chief minister said the terror attack on the pilgrims is a “blot on all Muslims and Kashmiris”. “Pilgrims come to Kashmir every year for the yatra despite all the difficulties. And seven people died today. I have no words to condemn it. I hope the security forces and the Jammu and Kashmir police arrest the perpetrators forthwith and take stern action against them,” the chief minister said.
9. Opposition leaders also condemned the attack. “This is a grave & unacceptable security lapse. The PM needs to accept responsibility and never allow it to happen again. Rahul Gandhi said. “Every right-thinking Kashmiri must today condemn the killing of the Amarnath yatris… These terrorists are the enemies of Kashmir & Kashmiriyat.” stated former J&K chef minister Omar Abdullah.
10. The President and the two Presidential candidates strongly condemned the attack. “Strongly condemn attack on Amarnath Yatris in J&K; grieve the loss of innocent lives,” said President Pranab Mukherjee. “Deeply saddened at loss of innocent lives. My thoughts and prayers are with bereaved family members and those injured,” said Meira Kumar, the opposition’s Presidential candidate. Ram Nath Kovind, the NDA’s presidential candidate, condemned the attack and has also cancelled his tour of Gujarat on Tuesday, sources said.
Source: Times Of India