7 pilgrims killed as terrorists attack Amarnath yatra bus in Anantnag

Special Correspondent
Srinagar, Jul 10: At least seven Amarnath pilgrims were killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag on Monday evening when they were attacked by militants.
The attack is said to have taken place in Batingu area when militants opened fire at the bus carrying yatris on the highway.
The bus had come from Sonamarg. The pilgrims were on their way back after visiting the Amarnath shrine.
Srinagar-Jammu highway has been shut after the terror attack.
A police official said that among those killed, five were women.
“At 8.20 pm today, the militants attacked an armoured car of the police, an official said. When the police fired back, the militants fled, firing indiscriminately,” the official added.
“In the firing by militants, seven people, five of them women, were killed, and another fourteen injured,” the official said.
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.
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.
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 authorities this time are said to have mobilised ‘highest level’ of security measures, including satellite-tracking.
Meanwhile the political parties supported by Chamber of Commerce and Industries today called for Jammu bandh tomorrow in view of terrorist attack on a bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims in which 7 pilgrims were killed, 15 injured in Anantnag district.
Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party held an emergency meeting of its core committee here which was convened by Harsh Dev Singh Chairman JKNPP.
It was unanimously decided to declare Jammu Bandh tomorrow against the brutal killings of Amarnath Yatris in Kashmir.
Singh has appealed to all sects of the society including traders, businessmen, youth, students, social and political organizations to observe complete shutdown to express solidarity with the deceased and their families.
Panther Party leaders along with the activists shall hold protest demonstration against the killings and take out a appeal march in the city to urge people to observe complete Jammu Bandh.
Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee has condemned the cowardly terrorists attack on the Amarnath pilgrims and expressed shock over causalities.
JKPCC Chief Spokesperson Ravinder Sharma has termed it as deliberate attempt to hurt religious sentiments and foment trouble and described it a major security lapse despite all sorts of inputs and threats to target the yatra.
The state and centre had made tall claims of fool proof arrangement. The entire rank and file expressed grave concern over the attack and asked people to jointly register strong message to such forces and against failures to ensure fool proof measures.
Congress has called for Jammu Bandh tomorrow against the brutal killings of Amarnath Yatris in Kashmir.
Meanwhile J&K National Conference has also decided to support the call for Jammu bandh tomorrow, said Devender Singh Rana, Provincial President said.
Unequivocally condemning the attack on the Amarnath Yatries the party in a statement said terrorism has no place in a civilized society.
The statement further that said a terrorist has no religion; a terrorist is a terrorist and must be treated as a terrorist. The party appealed to all together fight and defeat terrorism.
The statement further said it is a nefarious design to vitiate the secular fabric of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and we all must unitedly work to thwart this conspiracy against Jammu and Kashmir and India.
Meanwhile Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Jammu Rakesh Gupta has also called for a Jammu bandh and complete shutdown tomorrow to pay respect and homage to the brave Amarnath pilgrims who were martyred by coward terrorists.
“CCI calls upon one and all across India and world over to come in large numbers for amarnath Yatra to give a befitting reply to terrorists to say that Kashmir is an integral part of India,” he said in a statement issued here late evening.
Vishaw Hindu Parishad has also extended call support to Jammu band call for tomorrow.