Srinagar: This year's Amarnath Yatra is being carried out under a heavy security blanket with intelligence inputs warning of a big terror strike. At 8:20 pm on Monday, the fears came true as three terrorists attacked an armoured police vehicle. When the police fired back, the terrorists fired indiscriminately. A bus carrying pilgrims for the Amarnath Yatra became their target. In the firing, seven pilgrims were killed and 14 others, including two policemen, were injured.
Here is how the attack unfolded.
- Three terrorists opened fire at a check post of STF, SOG & CRPF personnel in Khannabal near Anantnag at 8:15 pm. The security personnel fired back. There were no casualties.
- The terrorists ran towards Batingu and attacked a police team posted there. The bus from Gujarat, with 18 pilgrims on board, was caught in the crossfire.
- Two pilgrims died on the spot, while the rest were rushed to nearby hospitals.
- Five more succumbed to their bullet injuries later. Twelve pilgrims received injuries. Two policemen were also injured in the attack.
- CRPF troops from 40 battalion and 90 battalion rushed to Batingu to rescue the victims. The security forces too came under fire.
- The terrorists fled towards Arwani and fired upon a camp of CRPF troops deployed there. No injuries or casualties reported.
- Security forces suspect the operation was carried out jointly by Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen men. There were three terrorists, and one of them Ismail, arrived on a bike first and fired at the bus.
- The bus was carrying pilgrims from Gujarat. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said the bus was not registered and was not part of the main convoy being guarded by CRPF men.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the dastardly attack and offered assistance to the state government. Other top ministers and politicians also voice their prayers and condemnation
- This year’s Amarnath Yatra has been one of the most highly-guarded ones as there had been intelligence reports that terrorists may target pilgrims.