'Highest alert' sounded across J&K after attack on Amarnath pilgrims; massive manhunt on for LeT terrorist

 A massive manhunt has been launched in Jammu and Kashmir for Pakistani LeT terrorist Muhammad Abu Ismail.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Jul 12, 2017, 22:25 PM IST
'Highest alert' sounded across J&K after attack on Amarnath pilgrims; massive manhunt on for LeT terrorist
Pic courtesy: PTI

New Delhi: A 'highest alert' has been sounded across Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the killing of seven Amarnath pilgrims by militants, the Home Ministry said on Tuesday.

Also, a massive manhunt has been launched in for Pakistani LeT terrorist Muhammad Abu Ismail, who, according to police sources, headed the group that attacked a bus carrying Amarnath yatris, killing seven pilgrims.

The alert by MHA was issued after a central ministerial team comprising Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh and Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir visited Kashmir and held extensive discussions with the top brass of the security establishment, Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on the prevailing situation.

"Considering the unfortunate loss of life and injuries suffered by the yatris (pilgrims) in the recent terror attack, the entire security apparatus has been put on the highest alert by the ministers," a Home Ministry statement said.

Seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, were killed and 19 injured when terrorists attacked a bus in Kashmir's Anantnag district on Monday.

The ministers visited Srinagar, following a directive from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, as per PTI.

They discussed the security situation in detail with the chief minister and the governor, before holding an in-depth security review with the local army commander, the chief secretary, the police chief and senior officers of the state government, the DG of the CRPF, and senior officers of BSF and other security agencies, the statement said.

The central ministers stressed that the entire country was with the Kashmiris and the pilgrims and that all arrangements for a safe and secure pilgrimage would continue with renewed vigour.

The central ministers expressed their gratitude to the governments of J&K and Maharashtra and the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board for the financial assistance announced for the victims of the attack.

It is a unique pilgrimage where people of one faith undertake the pilgrimage, while people belonging to all other faiths play the host, the Home Ministry statement said.

So far, more than 1.5 lakh pilgrims have visited the cave shrine located in the Himalayas. The 40-day long pilgrimage started on June 29.

Meanwhile, police sources said that 26-year old Ismail infiltrated into the Valley two years back and has since been carrying on terror activities in south Kashmir area, as per IANS.

"Abu Ismail with at least one foreign terrorist and two to three local terrorists of LeT carried out the attack on the Yatra bus on Monday," said a source, adding information based on intercepts indicates that the attack was planned by him too.

"The terrorists came on two motorcycles and fired at least a hundred rounds from their automatic weapons at the bus at two places. After the first attack, the terrorists chased the bus and fired at it for the second time," said a source, noting that although investigations into the terror attack were in the initial stages, yet the involvement of Abu Ismail had been established beyond any doubt.

Police believe the attack was carried out in revenge against the arrest of LeT terrorist Sandeep Kumar Sharma who had been produced before the media by the police.

Sharma, according to police, was involved in the killing of an SHO and five policemen in Achabal area of Anantnag district last month.

(With Agency inputs)