Amarnath yatra attack: Bus was delayed due to a flat tyre, attacked twice within seconds, J&K Police tells MHA

Amarnath Yatra attack: Seven Amarnath pilgrims were killed and 15 injured when militants attacked a bus carrying at least 56 passengers at Botengo village near Anantnag, on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, in South Kashmir on Monday evening.

Written by Rahul Tripathi , Mir Ehsan , Muzamil Jaleel | New Delhi | Updated: July 12, 2017 9:40 am
Amarnath terror attack, Amarnath yatra terror attack, Amanath pilgrims attacked, kashmir violence, jammu and kashmir, kashmir-terrorism, amnesty international, india news, indian express Amarnath Yatra attack: The injured at a hospital in Anantnag, Monday. PTI photo

A day after seven Amarnath yatris were killed when their bus was attacked by militants in Batengoo, the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Police have told the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that the bus was attacked twice, in quick succession. In a preliminary report to the MHA, the J&K Police have said that “unknown gunmen” first opened fire at the bus at 8.17 pm, near Habba Khaton petrol pump, while it was returning from Amarnath to Jammu.

“The bus driver, Saleem, sped past, but there was a second attack about 75 metres away from the first spot. He kept driving till he reached Khannabal, where he spotted a police party and halted the vehicle. They were taken to Anantnag police lines where the injured were treated,” said an MHA official, quoting the J&K Police report.

According to the report, the bus suffered maximum damage on the right, so passengers sitting on this side received serious injuries.

On Monday night, security officials had said that the militants first attacked a police bunker at Batengoo, and then a police naka at Khanabal. In both cases, they said, the police had returned fire.

“The information gathered yesterday was preliminary, and one has to go by what the state police say because they are the ones investigating. There was an attempt on one of our camps, Arwani, located near the attack site. We are investigating the matter,” said CRPF DG R R Bhatnagar today. “The group visited the shrine on July 8 and since they were not registered with the shrine board, they did not follow the security protocol… The bus reached Pantha Chowk on July 10, where the driver realised that one of the tyre was flat. After getting it fixed, the pilgrims started towards Jammu at 4.40 pm. They stayed in the area for nearly two hours,” says the J&K Police report.

In Srinagar, J&K Minister Nayeem Akthar, who visited Anantnag late on Monday night, said Abu Ismail of the Lashkar-e-Taiba was behind the attack. “The gang of gunmen belonging to LeT and led by Ismail from Pakistan identified as perpetrators of yatra attack. Police on hot pursuit,’’ tweeted Akthar, after he and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met security officials in South Kashmir.

Sources said Ismail is active in Kulgam area and is the senior most Lashkar ‘commander’ in Kulgam area of South Kashmir. While no militant group has claimed responsibility, both the Lashkar and United Jihad Council (an amalgam of several militant groups based in PoK) have condemned the attack.

“The investigation is still in its early stage. We will unveil the attackers,’’ said a senior police officer. Sources said the village where the attack took place is connected with many areas of Kulgam district, where the Lashkar is known to be present. Police are also looking at whether the militants were helped by some local OGWs.

Several security review meetings were held in the Valley today. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat also chaired a high-level security meeting at 15 Corps headquarters.

“The Army Chief chaired a security review meeting which was attended by the Chinar Corps Commander, Chief Secretary and DGP (J&K). The chief condemned the dastardly act of terror against innocent Amarnath pilgrims, and indicated that the security forces will counter this menace with greater resolve. The Chief exhorted the commanders to keep up the pressure on the terrorists as had been witnessed in recent successful operations in the Valley,’’ said a defence spokesman. He said Rawat also met Mehbooba and Governor N N Vohra.

Vohra, who is the head of the Amarnath Shrine Board, also chaired a high-level security review meeting.

A central team headed by Minister of State (Home) Hansraj Ahir also arrived in Srinagar and held a security review meeting with the state administration.

In Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the security situation and ordered enhanced security for the Amarnath Yatra. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, top officials of the MHA, intelligence agencies and central paramilitary forces attended the meeting.

Immediately after the meeting, the NSA briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the deliberations as well as the steps taken for the security of the Amarnath pilgrims.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App

  1. I
    IslamForFoools
    Jul 12, 2017 at 4:14 pm
    It is amazing how media fooools Hindus. They make news out of everything but never make news about growing Islamic terrorism against Hindus and non Muslims
    Reply
    1. R
      Ramash Singh
      Jul 12, 2017 at 12:03 pm
      Attack on Amarnath pilgrims is not the first .Of course,it has come after several years. There is much better coordination and security arrangement now. The attack should be condemned by one and all, but was it unexpected? Were we not supposed to be ready for such attacks? Presence of mind and bravery of Slim, the driver must be acknowledged and appreciated, but there are some questions, which seek answer. 1. Slim's bus was also part of convoy, which was proceeding towards Amarnath in full surveillance and protection of Army and police and perhaps tactical support of Air Force also. Were all drivers sensitized that they have to travel together only and if something goes wrong, inform the authority immediately? 2. Why surveillance failed to detect that one bus has been left behind. Driver took unusually longer time in fixing the Tyre, may be due to some unavoidable reason, but coordinators failed to detect it. 3. When Slim proceeded again, why was his bus not given protection?
      Reply
      1. S
        Suresh
        Jul 12, 2017 at 11:41 am
        ABU ISHMILE BURANWANI TET KASHMIRI TERRORISTS R DOGLIKE PAPPIES THESE TERRORISTS PAPPIES WILL BE KILLED BY INDIAN ARMY EARLY TO GET KASHMIR AS BEST TOURIST PLACE
        Reply
        1. P
          p g
          Jul 12, 2017 at 11:27 am
          Is Ismail alive or are the police keeping him alive ???????? Cannot he be eliminated in 15 day's ????? Does the police not have vigilence, men and material to finish him off ?????? Just giving lectures is not good from a security angle. Do something to finish all Ismail's.
          Reply
          1. S
            Suresh
            Jul 12, 2017 at 11:09 am
            abu ismile has killed ur hindu passengers ABU ISMILE UDDIN WILL KILLED BY INDIAN ARMY VERY SOON FROM SURESH PANIPAT
            Reply
            1. L
              Logic Induction
              Jul 12, 2017 at 9:12 am
              Kudos to the driver em Sheikh for having the presence of mind to drive past under fire from the militants.
              Reply
              1. K
                Kumar
                Jul 12, 2017 at 7:53 am
                Biased Media did not cover Gaurakshak terror against Muslims, just like killing if Amernath Yatra. Gau Rakshak terror spread throughout India.
                Reply
                1. A
                  Atul J
                  Jul 12, 2017 at 10:20 am
                  According to you "Islamic Terror" is nothing. Incidents happen in Gau Rakshak cases are also wrong, we are not supporting them. Media is also not covering the incidences in West Bengal where innocent hindus got killed.
                  Reply
                2. P
                  Pran
                  Jul 12, 2017 at 7:28 am
                  Obviously the attack was carried out either by kashmiri muslims or with help from kashmiri muslims. At the end of the day, all of Islam is the culprit and every muslim is guilty of this crime.
                  Reply
                  1. D
                    dinesh
                    Jul 12, 2017 at 8:13 am
                    hey !!! listen... whole of muslim community is not at fault, hence can not be condemned as a whole for the act of a fewer left Terrorists. our army security forces shall make them pay. Donot u know driver of the Bus Salim Sheikh saved the life of many ( say 45 )) by not stopping the bus??? Change the thinking of your mischievous mind and listen to your heart
                    Reply
                    1. C
                      COW-ARD
                      Jul 12, 2017 at 12:16 pm
                      Pran You are absolutely correct.....LIKE ALL HINDUS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR KILLING MUSLIMS IN THE NAME OF AN ANIMAL CALLED ANIMAL.
                      Reply
                    2. Load More Comments