Amarnath Yatra Attack: Seven Amarnath yatris, including 6 women, were killed and 19 others injured after terrorists attacked a bus carrying 56 pilgrims at Botengo village near Anantnag, on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday evening, according to reports. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sent a strong message saying India will never get bogged down by such cowardly attacks and the evil designs of hate. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that it was a brazen attack on Kashmir and Kashmiriyat. It has been learned that five of those killed were from Gujarat and two from Maharashtra. It has been learned that mobile data services have been stopped in Jammu except for only BSNL broadband services which was working with a speed limit, as per ANI report.
Last month, intelligence reports had warned that terrorists would target the yatra to one of the most revered Hindu shrines, Amarnath. The yatra began on June 28 amid the highest- ever multi-tier security setup, as per PTI report. This is the second such attack on Amarnath pilgrims in the Valley since militancy first emerged in 1990, as per Indian Express report. On August 1, 2000, 17 pilgrims were among 25 people killed in a terrorist attack in Pahalgam, where one of the two base camps of the pilgrimage is situated. Two policemen and six villagers also died as two militants, who were killed in a subsequent encounter, lobbed grenades and resorted to indiscriminate firing. However, at the time, the state government claimed that the attack targeted security forces and was not exclusively aimed at pilgrims.
Meanwhile, it has been learned that the bus and its passengers had not followed a single security advisory issued by the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the CRPF, according to Indian Express.
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CRPF DG R R Bhatnagar said that the pilgrims had not registered themselves, as is advised, and did not even become part of the yatra convoy, which is escorted by security forces, both to and from Amarnath, everyday. They also violated the 7 pm curfew on movement of yatris, the DG was quoted as saying by Indian Express.
Political organisations, including the VHP, JKNPP, NC and Congress called for a bandh in Jammu today against the terror attack.