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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Amarnath Yatra terror attack highlights: Army Chief reviews security situation in Srinagar

Amarnath Yatra terror attack LIVE updates: President Pranab Mukherjee has asked Jammu and Kashmir government to ensure that attackers behind Amarnath attack are brought to justice

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 12, 2017 2:01:48 am
Amarnath Yatra, Amarnath terror attack, Terror attack, Jammu terror attack, Rajnath Singh, Amarnath Yatra continues, PM Modi, India news, Indian Express Army Chief General Bipin Rawat met J-K Governor NN Vohra in Srinagar (ANI Photo)

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Tuesday met Army officials in Srinagar to review the security situation in the Valley in the wake of Monday’s terrorist attack on Amarnath pilgrims. He also met Governor NN Vohra at his residence. The Centre has announced a compensation of Rs 7 lakh to next of kin of each of the seven Amarnath pilgrims killed in the Valley, and Rs 1 lakh each for the injured persons. Condemning the attack, President Pranab Mukherjee asked Jammu and Kashmir government to ensure that the attackers behind the Amarnath attack are brought to justice.

Security was beefed up in Jammu and Kashmir, a day after a bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims was caught in the crossfire of militants and security forces. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh held a high-level meeting at his residence in New Delhi to take stock of the situation, while officials from the ministry travelled to Srinagar to review security arrangements for the rest of the yatris. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had condemned the attack and extended help to the state government, was apprised of the situation by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti called for a Cabinet meeting.

Meanwhile, 17 Opposition parties passed a resolution condemning the attack. They urged the government to introspect on reasons for the security lapse despite having advance intelligence.

The mortal remains of the seven victims was transported from Jammu to Surat. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, paying homage to the victims,  announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin and Rs 2 lakh to the injured.

Amarnath Yatra terror attack LIVE updates:

9:16 pm: MoS PMO Dr. Jitendra Singh and MoS Home Hansraj Ahir held a meeting with J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar. During the meeting, leaders expressed their deep anguish over yesterday’s attack and assured Chief Minister of all support from Centre in maintaining law and order in the state, ANI reports.

ANI Photo

9:00 pm: Calling the attack on pilgrims in Anatnag as a ‘terrible incident’, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said that “terror attack on temples of Hindus are possible only in this country.”

8:20 pm: Condemning the attack, Afghanistan President said, “Being enemies of civilization terrorists don’t respect any religion.To disseminate terror, they target sacred locations and civilians.”

7:45 pm: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat met J-K Governor NN Vohra in Srinagar.

ANI Photo

7:20 pm: Dr. Subramanian Swamy bats for Presidential rule in Jammu and Kashmir, ANI reports.

6:40 pm: This is an assault on Kashmir’s composite culture, this yatra is a symbol it, Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh told ANI.

6:35 pm: MoS PMO Dr.Jitendra Singh and MoS Home Hansraj Ahir visit the injured at SKIMS Hospital in Srinagar.

ANI Photo

6:20 pm: Army chief General Bipin Rawat held a meeting with army officers in Srinagar.

6:05 pm: Centre has announced a compensation of Rs 7 lakh to next of kin of each of the seven Amarnath pilgrims killed in Jammu and Kashmir, and Rs 1 lakh each for the injured persons.

6:00 pm: Condemning the attack, France assures the people and authorities of India of its solidarity in face of terrorism, ANI reports.

5:30 pm: Mortal remains of two Amarnath Yatra pilgrims from Maharashtra brought to their home town in Palghar

5:20 pm: Former Defence Minister AK Antony expressed his grief over Amarnath terror attack, saying, “Why did it happen when security forces are everywhere? Government must explain.”

5:00 pm: President Pranab Mukherjee has asked Jammu and Kashmir government to ensure that attackers behind Amarnath massacre are brought to justice

4:30 pm: CM Devendra Fadnavis announced Rs 10 lakh each to next of kin of pilgrims from Maharashtra who lost their lives in the terror attack. J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti has called CM Devendra Fadnavis and asked him to express grief over killing of Amarnath Pilgrims from Maharashtra in terror attack, ANI reports

4:20 pm: J&K government to give Rs 3 lakhs award to bus driver Saleem Sheikh

4:00 pm: PM Sheikh Hasina writes to PM Narendra modi, condemns the dastardly Amarnath Terror Attack and conveys condolences of Government and people of Bangladesh: MEA

3:50 pm: Civilian Government should be dismissed or asked to resign,Central rule through Governor should be imposed in J&K: Subramanian Swamy, BJP, ANI reports

3:40 pm: Jammu and Kashmir government announced Rs 6 lakh compensation for kin of each Amarnath pilgrim killed in militant attack; Rs 2 lakh for injured, PTI reports

3:30 pm: Centre sends two ministers Hansraj Gangaram Ahir and Dr Jitendra Singh to Kashmir to assess the situation, reports Liz Mathew, Senior Editor, Indian Express. Minister will meet J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti today and will also hold a security review meeting

2.45 pm: An emergency J&K Cabinet meeting, called by CM Mehbooba Mufti, is currently underway. Officials are discussing yesterday’s attack.

Meanwhile, Governor N N Vohra, who is also the chairman of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), convened a meeting at 11 am this morning with top civil administration, police, army, CRPF and intelligence officers of the state. “It was decided that the pilgrimage shall continue without any diminution whatsoever. This decision was conveyed to all camp directors and to the yatri niwas, Jammu, from where pilgrims leave for the Valley in a convoy every morning,” the spokesperson said.

The Governor later held a meeting in the yatra control room with the CEO of the SASB Umang Narula and other officials of the board to monitor the pace of the pilgrimage. “By 10.30 am, 18,838 pilgrims had left for the cave shrine from Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Panjtarni and Baltal yatra camps. 5,556 pilgrims who left Chandanwari this morning will need to halt en-route and they will reach the shrine the next day,” the governor was told.

2.30 pm: “We cannot allow Lashkar and ISI to succeed. The country is united. This was a heinous attack,” Asaduddin Owaisi is quoted as saying by ANI. “No one should play politics over the attack. Govt will need to answer certain questions, if not today then tomorrow.”

2.25 pm: In the wake of the attacks, the Gujarat BJP has cancelled all its scheduled programmes today. Party president Amit Shah was to attend various events ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections, as well as attend a party meet with NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind to seek support ahead of the presidential polls. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said, “We have cancelled all the programmes that were to be held today, including a party meet to be attended by BJP president Amit Shah and a programme of the presidential candidate to seek support, in view of those ‘martyred’ in the terror attack.”

2.22 pm: The United States condemned the attack on Amarnath pilgrims today. Taking to Twitter, the US Ambassador said, “We deplore the attack on Amarnath pilgrims and condemn all acts of terrorism. Deepest condolences to the families and all those affected.”

2.20 pm: Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das condemns the attack, described it as a “highly cowardly act”. He says, “The terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims is a highly cowardly act. The terrorists will not be spared for this inhuman act.”

2.17 pm: J&K Deputy CM Nirmal Singh asks pilgrims across the country to proceed with their plans for the Amarnath Yatra, assuring them that the state government is alert to the situation. “I want to assure the nation that Jammu and Kashmir government is alert. We are not taking any chances,” Singh was quoted as saying by PTI.

2.15 pm: Army chief General Bipin Rawat reaches the Badami Bagh headquarters in Srinagar to take stock of the situation. “The Army chief has arrived here in Srinagar and will be interacting with the Director General of Police (S P Vaid) later in the day. Gen Rawat might also hold a meeting with DG CRPF,” an Army official said, reported PTI.

1.55 pm: Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Amarnath Yatra is a symbol of Kashmiriyat, so this attack is cowardly and highly condemnable. They have attacked the Kashmiriyat of India. Innocent bhajan singing devotees were killed. Security forces are taking action.”

1.53 pm: Salim, the driver of the bus who steered the vehicle away from the militants, said, “God gave me strength to keep moving, and I just did not stop,” reported ANI.  “Lagatar firing huyi, main isliye ruka nahi, bus chalata raha (There was continuous firing, which is why I didn’t stop but kept driving),” he added. Read more here.

1.04 pm: The mortal remains of the victims have been brought to Surat from Jammu, along with 19 injured and 32 pilgrims. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and other ministers received them at the airport. Rupani announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin and Rs 2 lakh to those injured in the attack. Praising the driver of the bus for trying to steer the vehicle away from the militants despite being wounded, he said, “I will nominate bus driver’s name for bravery award.”

Activists of Bajrang Dal burning the tyres and blocking a road following a bandh call in response against the yesterday’s militant attack on pilgrims, in Jammu on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)

1.02 pm: 17 Opposition parties passed a resolution today condemning the attack on yatris. The government should introspect on reasons for the security failure despite advance information, members said, reported PTI.

1.00 pm: Even when there were intelligence inputs well in advance, why was there a failure in preventing this attack, says Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress.

12.32 pm: Vice President Hamid Ansari condemns the attack. In a statement, he said: “I am shocked to learn of the dastardly terrorist attack on Amarnath Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir which has resulted in loss of lives and injuries to pilgrims. Such wanton acts of violence can have no justification. The perpetrators and those who support and shelter them should be punished for this crime against humanity. We stand united in face of such attacks on the soul of India. I offer my sincere condolences to the families of the bereaved. I join the nation in praying for their eternal rest and for the early recovery of the injured.”

12.25 pm: The Maharashtra government has made arrangements to transport the mortal remains of the two pilgrims who were flown to Surat to Dahanu. They will be flown by helicopter. Separately, three from Maharashtra who were wounded in the attacks are being treated at a hospital in J&K. The Government of Maharashtra is in constant touch with the Centre and J&K authorities regarding their condition.

Amarnath Yatra terror attack live updates, Amarnath yatra attack, Mehbooba Mufti, J&K terror attack, J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti with victims of the attack on Monday. (Express Photo)

12.21 pm: Calling for Governor’s rule in the state, Congress’ Karan Singh says the Yatra should continue but an attack like yesterday’s should not take place again. “I see no step other than imposition of Governor’s rule in the prevailing situation, this is my individual opinion,” he is quoted as saying by ANI.

12.16 pm: J&K deputy CM Nirmal Singh tells NDTV the attack was the design of pakistan-sponsored terrorists. He added that there was definitely a lapse in security. “Will inquire why the bus left after sunset,” he said. “It’s a proxy war, fighting a decisive battle,” he added.

12.11 pm: The Centre has appealed to pilgrims to follow the safety protocol and cooperate with authorities, in the wake of the attacks. Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said officials are probing the incident and will reveal more information when the final report is submitted.

“I hope the pilgrims will cooperate by giving advance intimation, information and also follow the protocol of security so that they are all secured,” he is quoted as saying by ANI.

12.00 pm:  Locals in Ahmedabad hold protests against the terror attack on the Amarnath pilgrims.

11.58 am: Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe condemns the attack.

11.55 am: BJP general secretary Ram Madhav says there was no security lapse that led to yesterday’s attack. “This shouldn’t be called lapse. Security forces have to succeed 100/100 times, terrorists can execute attack even if succeed once,” he is quoted as saying by ANI. “There has been no lapse, adequate security has been given, ‘yatra’ has been peaceful for last 15 days.

A security force personnel (R) checks the bag of a man near a base camp of Hindu pilgrimage to the cave of Amarnath. REUTERS/Danish Ismail

11.43 am: NSA Ajit Doval briefs Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the situation in Kashmir, following Monday’s terror attack, reports PTI.

11:30 am: Former J-K Chief Farooq Abdullah appealed to the people of India to stay united in the wake of terror attacks. “I appeal to everyone in my nation please come in large nos. so that you can defeat these elements who want to destroy our nation,” the Srinagar MP told news agency ANI. He further said that it is important for people to show that they are not afraid. “Come and show them that you are not afraid, that’s what is very important,” Abdullah said.

11:24 am:  The Opposition leaders observed silence at the Parliament to mourn the loss of lives in Amarnath Yatra terrorist attack during the meeting over Vice-Presidential polls.

11:15 am:  Son-in-law of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Robert Vadra “strongly condemned insanity act of cowardice”. In a post on Facebook, Vadra said that his prayers are with the families of the deceased. He further went on to request the government to provide more protection to the pilgrims in disturbed regions. He also asked Indian citizens to fight against terrorism and “stay united”. “We, the citizens of India, should stay united against those creating terror instead of playing blame games and instilling hatred,” Vadra wrote.

11.04 am:  The ‘Not In My Name Campaign’ in New Delhi is gathering this evening at 7.00 pm at Jantar Mantar to protest mourn the death of the Amarnath Yatris and stand in solidarity with the families of those killed. The ‘Not In My Name’ campaign was a protest spearheaded last month in response to mob lynching.

10.52 am: The J&K National Panthers Party hold protest over Monday’s attack.

J&K National Panthers Party protest Monday’s attack. (Source; ANI)

10.49 am: Javid says his cousin Saleem managed to move over 50 people to safe ground during the attack yesterday. “He told me that he did not stop there when terrorists fired, only looked for a safer spot for pilgrims. He couldn’t save 7 lives, but managed to move 50 people to a safe place; proud of him,” he tells ANI.

10.46 am: The next batch of pilgrims, who left this morning, is expected to cross the Jawahar tunnel by 3.00 pm this afternoon. The government has deployed three empty buses along with the vehicle to ensure no yatri is stranded in the case of a breakdown. The convoy will pause at Udhampur, Ramban and Banihal briefly during the day. Read more here.

10.20 am: A high-level meeting is underway at Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence to take stock of the situation and discuss ways to prevent attacks in the future. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other top officials from the home ministry, intelligence agencies and central paramilitary forces are in attendance. Meanwhile, a delegation of officials, including MoS for Home Hansraj Ahir, has been sent to the state to assess the security situation. Director General of CRPF R R Bhatnagar is already in Srinagar, reviewing the the deployment of central forces, reported PTI. He is expected to attend a meeting convened by Governor N N Vohra.

The government is also making arrangements to airlift the bodies of the victims to Gujarat.

10.02 am: Indian Air Force C-130 (Hercules) aircraft to carry the mortal remains of Amarnath yatris from Srinagar to Surat airport at 12.00 pm.

9.44 am: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti calls for a Cabinet meeting today, in the wake of the terror attack. Mufti had, yesterday, visited the injured at the Anantnag hospital. Condemning the attack, she had hoped to arrest and punish those involved soon.

Amarnath Yatra terror attack live updates, Amarnath yatra attack, Mehbooba Mufti, J&K terror attack, pilgrims attacked, Modi Amarnath attack, India news, Indian Express Mehbooba Mufti paying homage to the victims of the terror attack at the airport. (Express Photo/Shuaib Masoodi)

9.33 am: Calling it a “serious security lapse” by the government and security forces, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “If there were intelligence inputs on 25th June that Amarnath Yatra would be attacked, why no preventive measures were taken,” reported ANI.

Read: Bollywood shaken; SRK, Akshay Kumar, others express anguish, anger. Click here

9.30 am: The bus carrying the pilgrims was originally owned by Sanjay Patel of Umiya Travels, who had sold it to Jawahar Desai of Om Travels. Since the payment wasn’t settled between the two, Patel remains the owner of the bus on paper. However, the travels was organised by Jawahar and his son, Harsh. Interestingly, Patel told The Indian Express the permit for the tour (from July 2-23) was procured by him — which is in contention as reports say the vehicle was not part of the yatra convoy, which gets security cover by the government — and was cleared for travel by the RTO in Himmatnagar. Read more here.

Security personnel stand guard after militants opened fire on the Amarnath Yatra (PTI Photo)

9.19 am: The attack was carried out by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, masterminded by Pakistan terrorist Ismail, IG Kashmir Muneer Khan is quoted as saying by ANI.

9.14 am: Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu tweets, “Pained and shocked by the cowardice of terrorists in attacking innocent #AmarnathPilgrims. My prayers with the victims.”

9.10 am: Officials from the Home Ministry, including MoS Hansraj Ahir and JS Kashmir Gyaneshwar Kumar will visit Srinagar today to take stock of the situation.

9.07 am: The Uttar Pradesh government is taking stringent measures to ensure safety and security of pilgrims who depart on the Kanwar Yatra today. In a high-level emergency meeting last night, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath personally reviewed the security situation in the state with Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar, Director General of Police, Sulkhan Singh and ADG (law and order) Anand Kumar. He directed them to remain vigilant ahead of the month-long religious yatra.

8.52 am: Trade bodies and other organisations including the VHP, Bajrang Dal, NC, Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Jammu Kashmir National Panthers Party have called for a complete shutdown in the state today. Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Rakesh Gupta appealed to the people to join the protest, peacefully, in memory of the Amarnath victims.

8.47 am: The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has condemned the attack, and urged the Trump administration to clampdown of Pakistan for supporting terrorist groups, reports PTI. “This was an unconscionable attack on innocent pilgrims exercising their most fundamental and basic rights to freedom of religion,” said HAF board member Rajiv Pandit. “We urge the Trump Administration to designate Hizbul Mujahideen as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation and clampdown on Pakistan for its continued support of Hizbul and other terrorist groups carrying out attacks in India,” he added.

Meanwhile, Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi also condemned the attack, saying, “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims in Amarnath and their families. Terrorism has no place in our world.

A paramilitary soldier keeps a watch on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. (PTI Photo, File)

8.45 am: A high-level meeting is scheduled to take place at 9.45 am at Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence. Separately, J&K Governor N N Vohra has also called a meeting in Srinagar to assess the situation, reports ANI.

8.40 am: Separatist leaders in the Valley have comdemned the attack. In a joint statement, top leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, “expressed deep sorrow and grief over the killing of Amarnath Yatris in Anantnag today and strongly condemned it”. “This incident goes against the very grain of Kashmiri ethos”, they added. The leadership is expected to meet today to discuss the situation.

Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told The Indian Express, “It (the attack) has deeply saddened everybody. The people and the leadership of Kashmir strongly condemn this attack on the yatris. For us, the pilgrims are and will always be respected guests.”

Read: Virender Sehwag, Yogeshwar Dutt and more sportspersons condemn attack. Click here.

8.25 am: The victims, both deceased and injured, will be airlifted to New Delhi today in a special BSF aircraft. “The dead and the injured pilgrims will be shifted to Srinagar tonight. They will then be airlifted to New Delhi in a special BSF aircraft at 7:30 AM tomorrow,” J&K Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh was quoted as saying by PTI.

The deceased were identified as Hasuben Ratilal Patel, Surkhaben, Patal Lakshmiben, Ratan Zeena Bhai Patel and Praja Pati Champa Ben from Gujarat and Usha Mohan Lal Sonkar and Thakur Nirmala Bharat from Maharashtra.

8.22 am: Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who called the attack “a crime against humanity”, calls for decisive action against its perpetrators. “The attack on the devotees of Lord Shiva is a crime against humanity. The entire nation is in shock,” she said in a statement.

8.15 am: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reacts to the attack, says Maharashtra strongly condemns the cowardly attack in J&K. “Our deepest condolences to the bereaved families,” he adds.

Monday’s attack in Anantnag district on pilgrims returning from the Amarnath shrine is the “crossing” of a new red line for militants in Kashmir. Click here to know why.

8.12 am: The attack is being investigated by the state police. The yatra is going, we will ensure that it goes on peacefully, Zulfiqar Hasan, IG (Operations), CRPF, is quoted as saying by ANI.

Zulfiqar Hasan, IG (Operations), CRPF, speaks to reporters (Source: ANI)

8.08 am: Last night, CM Mehbooba Mufti had visited those injured in the attack at Anantnag Hospital.

8.03 am: President Pranab Mukherjee tweets, “Strongly condemn attack on Amarnath Yatris in J&K; grieve the loss of innocent lives.”

Read how other political leaders, from BJP president Amit Shah to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi reacted to the attack. Click here.

8.00 am: Ahead of the Presidential polls, both candidates in the fray, NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind and the Opposition’s Meira Kumar have condemned the attack. While Kovind asserted the “cowards responsible for the barbaric attack will not be spared”, Kumar said “any attack on the secular fabric of the nation is condemnable”.

7.45 am: According to officials, the bus was not registered with the Amarnath Shrine Board, and hence, not part of the officials yatri envoy which was provided elaborate security. Further, the bus driver had reportedly violated rules but driving on the highway after 7 pm, after which security cover is withdrawn, top government and police sources were quoted as saying by news agency PTI. Read: The pilgrims had not registered themselves with the authorities, said officials. Click here.

7.20 am: Meanwhile, people in the Valley woke up to a complete bandh; internet services have been suspended across the region.

7.15 am: Undeterred by Monday’s terror attack on a bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims in Anantnag district, over 3,000 yatris, including women, left Jammu for darshan of the ice-lingam in the South Kashmir Himalayas during the wee hours of Tuesday. Read: Importance of the Yatra. Click here.

7.10 am: Welcome to our live blog. Last evening, a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims from Baltal to Jammu was caught in the crossfire after militants targeted J&K security forces near the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. Seven people were killed, including five women, and over 30 were injured. The attack, which is considered the worst on the annual pilgrimage since 2000, has neither deterred pilgrims nor officials from conducting the religious yatra.

(With inputs from agencies)

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