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Terrorists attack bus in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district, kill seven Amarnath pilgrims

The last time the Amarnath yatra was targeted was on August 1, 2000.

Terrorists attack bus in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district, kill seven Amarnath pilgrims
Pic courtesy: ANI

Srinagar: Terrorists on Monday night killed seven Amarnath pilgrims from Gujarat as they struck at a bus in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district, in the worst attack on the annual pilgrimage since the year 2000.

The bus bearing the registration number GJ09Z 9976 was attacked at around 8.20 pm near Khanabal when it was on its way to Jammu, police said.

Police said the bus was not a part of the yatra convoy which is being provided elaborate security.

What exactly happened

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 further said.

When the police retaliated, the militants fled, firing indiscriminately in which the bus carrying the yatris got it.

Among those killed, six were women.

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for the pilgrimage, which state that no yatra vehicle should be on the highway after 7 pm as the security cover is withdrawn after that, as per PTI.

PM Modi says India will never be bogged down by evil designs of hate

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted about the incident and said "pained beyond words on the dastardly attack on peaceful Amarnath Yatris in J&K. The attack deserves strongest condemnation from everyone... India will never get bogged down by such cowardly attacks and the evil designs of hate."

He also spoke to Chief Minister of J&K Mehbooba Mufti.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also spoke to Mufti and was apprised of the ground situation. 

He also directed officials to ensure foolproof security in future.

Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley​ too tweeted:

On her part, Mufti said, "I have no words to condemn this, hope those involved will be arrested and punished soon," as per ANI.

Amarnath yatra was resumed from Jammu yesterday after a day-long suspension due to apprehensions of a law-and-order situation in the Kashmir Valley.

The authorities had on Saturday clamped a curfew in three towns of the Kashmir Valley, including Tral and had imposed restrictions on the movement of people in the rest of the Valley to foil the separatists' plan to take out a rally to mark the first death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen 'commander' Burhan Wani. 

About Amarnath yatra

Pilgrims undertake the yatra every year to pay obeisance to the ice-lingam of Lord Shiva at the cave shrine at an altitude of 3,888 metres in the south Kashmir Himalayas.

The cave shrine is located at a distance of 46 kms from Pahalgam and 14 kms from Baltal. 

The 40-day yatra had began on June 28.

The pilgrimage is scheduled to conclude on the Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) on August 7.

The last time the Amarnath yatra was targeted was on August 1, 2000. The terrorists had then struck in Pahalgam area, killing 30 people, who also included porters. 

(With Agency inputs)