An Indian Air Force plane carrying the victims of the Amarnath terror attack landed at the Surat airport, shortly after 1 pm on Tuesday. The plane brought back the mortal remains of seven pilgrims who were killed in Monday’s terror attack at Batengoo in Kashmir’s Anantnag district, when militants reportedly ambushed a bus. The plane also brought back 19 injured passengers along with 32 survivors, who were received by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy CM Nitin Patel, BJP state president Jitu Vaghani and several other leaders.
The 19 injured were rushed to Kiran hospital in Surat. The Gujarat government announced compensation for those killed and injured in the attack. At the Surat airport, Rupani said, “Our Finance Minister has announced a compensation on behalf of the state government of Rs 10 lakhs for the families of the deceased pilgrims and Rs 2 lakhs for those injured in the unfortunate attack in Anantnag, last night. We salute the spirit of the driver of the bus, Salim (Mirza), who drove the bus up to 2 kilometers ahead from the ambush spot to save the lives of many other passengers. I am told that he also sustained injuries but drove ahead despite that. We will nominate his name for the bravery awards to the Union government.”
Rupani, who personally inquired about the well being of the injured, as they alighted from the flight at the tarmac, also thanked the people and government of Jammu and Kashmir for their. “The people have said that everyone helped them a lot after the incident, including the villagers, military, and the government of Jammu and Kashmir. Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Central government and the Air Force have also extended their utmost cooperation in ensuring that the citizens of Gujarat return home and also those who were killed are brought back to their families. I want to thank all of them for their help to the residents of Gujarat,” he said.
Driver Salim Mirza, who was hailed a hero as he stepped out of the IAF plane, told reporters, “It was about 8 pm, when the bus was surrounded by militants. They first fired from the front with the intention to eliminate the driver. I ducked sideways to escape the bullets being fired and drove ahead. I do not know how I got the strength to go on in that time. May be Allah helped me with the strength.” Salim said that he was unharmed in the incident while another passenger seated beside him was injured.