Militants kill seven pilgrims in India

Dhaka,  Thu,  21 September 2017
Published : 11 Jul 2017, 12:12:52

Militants kill seven pilgrims in Kashmir attack

Militants kill seven pilgrims in India
At least seven Hindu pilgrims were killed and several injured as militants fired on their bus when they were returning from the remote Himalayan shrine of Amarnath in Anantnag district of Kashmir on Monday.

All the victims were from Gujarat, state chief minister Vijay Rupani told reporters, pointing to a possible targeted strike against a chartered bus from that state. Five of the dead were women, reports Hindustan Times.

The attack occurred at Batengoo at about 8.20pm when 60-70 pilgrims were returning from Baltal, one of the base camps of the pilgrimage, to Jammu. Batengoo is 65 km south of Srinagar.

Officials said the bus was neither registered with the Amarnath shrine board nor part of a convoy. It was moving after sunset, which is not allowed because of security restrictions.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack as cowardly, saying “India will never get bogged down by such cowardly attacks and evil designs of hate”.

In a series of tweets, he also said: “The attack deserves strongest condemnation from everyone.”

Just weeks ago, intelligence agencies had warned that militants were planning to target 100 policemen and as many Amarnath pilgrims to trigger communal violence, prompting the authorities to deploy more than 40,000 troops to protect the twin routes of the 40-day pilgrimage.

Reacting to the attack, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “This is a grave & unacceptable security lapse. The PM needs to accept responsibility and never allow it to happen again”.

Kashmiri separatist leaders also condemned the killing. In a joint statement, they said the incident went against the very grain of Kashmiri ethos.

The Amarnath pilgrimage has come under attack by militants three times in the past, including the massacre of 30 people in Pahalgam on August 1, 2000. The government had held the Lashkar-e-Taiba responsible for that attack.
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