Seven Amarnath pilgrims were killed and 15 others injured, including policemen, on Monday when a bus of yatris was caught in a cross fire between militants and a police party in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantang district, police said.
Inspector General of Police Munir Khan confirmed the toll and said 15 others were injured, including security men.
The bus was carrying pilgrims back from Baltal after performing the yatra.
A CRPF statement said the bus was not part of the official yatra and not registered with the Amarnath Shrine Board. The internet services in Kashmir have been blocked, in view of tense situation in the valley.
Security has been enhanced at Jammu-Srinagar National highway in Udhampur following terror attack on Amarnath Yatra pilgrims in Anantnag. pic.twitter.com/9MKI46fglP
— ANI (@ANI_news) July 10, 2017
The attack took place hours after the Jammu and Kashmir Police claimed to have busted a Lashkar-e-Taiba module with the arrests of two persons, including Sandeep Kumar Sharma alias Adil, a resident of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh.
Senior minister in the Mehbooba Mufti-led government Nayeem Akhtar termed the attack a “dark patch in the history of Kashmir”.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah was quick to react and said: “The attack cannot be condemned strongly enough.”
He added that such an attack was expected in spite of recent successes against militants by security forces. “The one thing we had all feared this year during the yatra. In spite of recent successes against militants and unprecedented force presence,” he tweeted.
On Saturday, the Amarnath yatra was suspended from Jammu due to law and order situation in the Kashmir Valley which was under curfew due to the death anniversary of militant commander Burhan Wani.
Reacting to the incident, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter: “Very sad news. The attack cannot be condemned strongly enough. My sympathies to the families & prayers for the injured.”