Bodies of Amarnath Yatra pilgrims reach Gujarat

Bodies of Amarnath Yatra pilgrims reach Gujarat

Bodies of Amarnath Yatra pilgrims reach Gujarat

On Monday night, seven pilgrims, including five women, were killed and 19 wounded when militants opened fire on a bus travelling through Anantnag district.

Former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot today condemned the attack on Amarnath pilgrims in Kashmir and demanded an inquiry into the matter. He alleged that Salahuddin along with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) wanted to create a 2008-like situation in the Kashmir Valley.

The attack coincided with the first anniversary of the death of Burhan Wani, a 21-year-old commander of the militant separatist group Hizbul Mujaheedin. "We deplore the attack on Amarnath pilgrims and condemn all acts of terrorism". The bus was reportedly not a part of the main yatra convoy.

Meanwhile, security has been stepped up in the region.

Additional police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed en route to the holy cave shrine to prevent repeat of any such incident, a police official said. "India wants to sabotage the freedom struggle of Kashmiris, therefore, it uses such attacks to fulfill its nefarious agenda".

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the next of kin of those killed in the Amarnath yatra terror attack, and an aid of Rs 2 lakh each for the injured.

Yesterday, terrorists attacked a bus in Anantnag district, killing seven pilgrims and injuring 15 others.

As NPR's Julie McCarthy notes, there have been competing accounts of the motives behind the attack: "One version of events says the bus full of more than 50 pilgrims got caught in the crossfire", she reports for NPR's Newscast unit.

"Very sad news. The attack can not be condemned strongly enough".

After the militant attack, J&K Governor N N Vohra, who is also chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), held a midnight meeting to review course of the yatra, a Rajbhavan spokesman said. The bus did not even have adequate security and traveling after the hours permitted for journey, fell victim to the attack by terrorists.

In a condolence message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina conveyed "deepest condolences" to the bereaved families and prayed for the early recovery of the injured pilgrims.

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