The cowardly terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag that saw seven Amarnath Yatra pilgrims killed on Monday was carried out by two Pakistan-sponsored Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists with the support of two local militants, IGP Kashmir Muneer Khan said today.
Pakistani terrorist Abu Ismail masterminded the Monday’s attack, Muneer Khan was quoted as saying by ANI.
Attack on Amaranth yatra pilgrims carried out by LeT, masterminded by Pak terrorist Ismail says IG Kashmir Muneer Khan to ANI pic.twitter.com/WzhYHx9sfb— ANI (@ANI_news) July 11, 2017
According to India TV sources, the local support, including logistics, came from the Hizbul Mujahideen cadre. The sources said that the terrorists wanted to barge into the bus while they opened indiscriminate firing in order to claim maximum casualties. It is also said that they did a three-day recce before executing the plan.
Notably, the LeT had, late on Monday night, issued a statement condemning the attack. “The attack on Amarnath pilgrims is highly reprehensible act. Islam does not allow violence against any faith,” the statement by Abdullah Ghaznavi, LeT’s spokesperson, says.
Meanwhile, Minister of State (MoS) Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir along with a team of MHA officers will visit Srinagar to assess the security situation post the terror attack on pilgrims.
Also, a high-level meeting is underway at Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence. Those present in the meeting include NSA Ajit Doval, top officials of the Home Ministry, intelligence agencies and central paramilitary forces. Separately, J&K Governor N N Vohra has also called a meeting in Srinagar to assess the situation, reports ANI.
Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh said the Amarnath pilgrims injured in a terror attack at Anantnag district will be airlifted to Delhi on Tuesday.
He informed that the dead and the injured pilgrims will be shifted to Srinagar, from where they will then be airlifted to New Delhi in a special BSF aircraft Tuesday morning.
Several political organisations, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party, the National Conference and the Congress have called for a bandh in Jammu today to protest the killings.
On Monday night, seven Amarnath pilgrims from Gujarat, including six women, were killed and 32 others injured as terrorists struck at a bus in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district, in the worst attack on the annual pilgrimage since the year 2000.
The seven pilgrims killed in the attacks are -- Hasuben Ratila Patal (Gujarat), Surekha Ben (Gujarat), Thakur Nimala Ben(Maharashtra), Lakshmiben Patel (Gujarat), Usha Mohanlal Sonkar (Maharashtra), Ratan Zeena Bhai Patel (Gujarat) and Champaben Prajapati (Gujarat).
The bus bearing the registration number GJ09Z 9976 was attacked at around 8.20 pm near Khanabal when it was on its way to Jammu, police said.
A CRPF statement said the bus was neither part of the official yatra nor was it registered with the Amarnath Shrine Board.
The terrorists first attacked a bullet-proof bunker of the police at Botengoo, a police official said, adding it was retaliated. There were no injuries in this attack. Thereafter the terrorists fired on a police picket near Khannabal, the police added.
When the police retaliated, the militants fled, firing indiscriminately and the bus carrying the yatris got hit.
Seven of the pilgrims were killed and 32 were injured, the police said. The police and top government sources said the bus driver had violated rules for the pilgrimage, which state that no yatra vehicle should be on the highway after 7 pm as the security cover is withdrawn after that.