The Shiv Sena today said the attack on Amarnath pilgrims is an assault on the entire nation and the government, and it is high time that such dastardly incidents are given a befitting reply. The terrorists last night killed seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, and injured 19 others as they attacked a bus in Kashmir’s Anantnag district, in the worst assault targetting the annual pilgrimage since 2001. “This attack was not only on pilgrims going for the Amarnath yatra but on the entire country and the government in Delhi (Centre),” Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut told reporters here. “Merely condemning the incident will not suffice. It is now high time that this (terrorist attack) is given a befitting reply,” he said. Raut said the attack is a fresh proof that the surgical strike against the neighbouring country and the demonetisation move yielded no results. “A permanent cure has to be found against Pakistan and its terrorist activities,” the Rajya Sabha member said. Raut said in 1996, there was a similar threat to pilgrims going for the Amarnath yatra, and claimed that late Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had ensured there was no casualty.
“Balasaheb had then publicly announced that if there was a single casualty by a terrorist attack during the Amarnath yatra, the Shiv Sena will ensure that not a single plane from anywhere across the country takes off with Haj pilgrims,” he said. “The situation today is such that a similar stand needs to be taken now,” the Sena leader said. He said the Centre should give a strong reply to the terror attack and refrain from merely engaging in lip service.
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The bus, bearing a Gujarat registration number, was on its way from Baltal to Jammu when the attack took place last night. The pilgrims were on their way back after visiting the Amarnath shrine. The police claimed the bus driver had violated rules for the pilgrimage as per which no yatra vehicle should be on the highway after 7 pm.