Two days after seven Amarnath pilgrims lost their lives in a militant attack in Anantnag district, the largest batch of Amarnath Yatris left for Pahalgam and Baltal on Wednesday, reported news agency ANI. “Another batch of 3,791 yatris left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in 101 vehicles, including 55 buses and 46 light motor vehicles for the valley around 4 a.m. today (Wednesday) in an escorted convoy,” police told IANS. The pilgrims set out amid high security following Monday’s attack. This is the second such strike on Amarnath pilgrims in the past 17 years. The attack has been condemned from all quarters.
Speaking on the Amarnath Yatra attack, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said it was one of the biggest tragedies. “There is religious freedom in this country…communalism in India is at its peak again and it can devour us all. This attack is an example of communalism,” he said.
Hours after the Amarnath Yatra attack, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said the “massive public outrage cutting across ideological and party lines is a silver lining”. Speaking to The Indian Express over phone from Srinagar, Mehbooba said she had “no words to describe the pain and anguish” when she “met the survivors of the attack.”
“When I reached there (Anantnag), there were heart-rending scenes. Most of the yatris killed were women, who were the head of their families. I had no words to express my grief. They had come here for religious reasons, to pay their obeisance at the cave shrine. And now, they were returning in coffins,” she said. Related | From a reluctant pilgrim, a cook to one who enjoyed visiting temples; a list of victims. Click here to read.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi called the tragedy a “grave and unacceptable security lapse” and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to accept responsibility. “This is a grave and unacceptable security lapse. The PM needs to accept responsibility and never allow it to happen again.” Meanwhile, MoS Home Hansraj Ahir, MoS PMO Jitendra Singh and J&K Joint Secretary Gyanesh Kumar will brief Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday.