Seven pilgrims, five of them women, have been killed as terrorists attacked the Amarnath yatra in Anantnag, the police said. 32 people were injured in this attack, the worst on the annual pilgrimage since the year 2000.
At 8.20 pm on Monday, the terrorists attacked an armoured car of the police, an official said. When the police fired back, the terrorists fled, firing indiscriminately, the official added.
Police said the bus was not a part of the yatra convoy which is being provided elaborate security.
The terrorists first attacked a bullet-proof bunker of the police at Botengoo, a police official said, adding it was retaliated. There were no injuries in this attack. Thereafter the terrorists fired on a police picket near Khannabal, the police added.
When the police retaliated, the militants fled, firing indiscriminately in which the bus carrying the yatris got it. Seven of the pilgrims were killed and 32 were injured, the police said.
The police and top government sources said the bus driver had violated rules for the pilgrimage, which state that no yatra vehicle should be on the highway after 7 pm as the security cover is withdrawn after that.
“In the firing by militants, seven people, five of them women, were killed, and another seven injured,” the official said.
The bus had come from Sonamarg. The pilgrims were on their way back after visiting the Amarnath shrine. 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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi responded to the attack as he said “Pained beyond words on the dastardly attack on peaceful
Amarnath Yatris in J&K. India will never get bogged down by such cowardly attacks and the evil designs of hate.” PM Modi also said that he has spoken to JK Governor and Chief Minister and assured all possible assistance required.
The attack was condemned by other leaders as well.