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As Chief Minsiter Mehbooba Mufti promises to hunt down the militants who attacked pilgrims bound for Amarnath, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India would never get bogged down by such cowardly attacks, other pilgrims defiantly continued their pilgrimage to the cave-shrine today.
At roughly 8.20 pm last night, which happened to be the first Monday of the holy month of Shravan, militants allegedly attacked a broken down pilgrim bus and its police escort van, killing seven people and injuring 19.
The bus had travelled all the way from Gujarat, and was making its way from Srinagar, when the attack took place at Anantnag. It is reported that the bus had broken down and was stationary on the roadside when the militants attacked the pilgrims and the police escort.
The dead include six women, and many policemen were also injured.
This is the second-ever attack on Amarnath yatra pilgrims; the first being in 1993, which was carried out by Harkat ul Ansar, as “retribution” for Babri Masjid. No one has claimed responsibility for last night’s attack yet, although BBC reports that separatist leader Syed Ali Gilani as well as the banned militant group Lashkar e Toiba have both condemned the attack.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted this morning of “pain beyond words” at this horrific tragedy and has spoken to the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti about the incident.
On her part, CM Mehbooba Muufti reportedly arrived at the hosptial where the injured were being treated, repeatedly apologised to them, and said, “this is a blot on all Muslims, and all Kashmiris”, vowing the security forces will not to rest until the killers are found.
Meanwhile, although the Jammu-Srinagar highway remains shut down after this tragedy, other pilgrims have continued their journey to the cave-shrine of Amarnath.
Hear this report, which includes statements from some eye witnesses as well as CM Mehbooba Mufti.
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