Six pilgrims and two police officers were among 13 persons killed in two explosions and firing on the pilgrimage route to the Hindu cave shrine of Amarnath in southern Anantnag district early on Saturday.
The pilgrimage was suspended for a day and no pilgrim was allowed to leave for Pahalgam from Jammu. Those en route had been stopped and 300 pilgrims, who were stopped at Anantnag, had been lodged in heavily guarded camps.
Three pilgrims who died in the blasts were identified as:
The state government had recently said that "fool proof security arrangements" had been made and hundreds of army, paramilitary and police troops had been deployed all along the trek
Police sources said on Saturday morning that a bomb explosion rocked Seshnag, which resulted in the death of one pilgrim.
Thereafter, a police party led by Deputy Superintendent of Police Parveen Kumar rushed to the spot. As soon as the police party reached the site another explosion took place, which was followed by firing.
DSP Parveen Kumar and Assistant Sub-Inspector Sakhi Mohammad died on the spot, while six others, including pilgrims and labourers, were wounded.
A state government spokesman, while giving details about the incident, said, "Militants near the Seshnag camp hurled a grenade at around 1.30 am.
The deputy superintendent of police, along with other cops and pilgrims, rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation. The militants then hurled another grenade and opened fire killing two cops, including the DSP, and injuring six others".
The state authorities had earlier said that DSP Parveen Kumar and another police officer died in the bomb explosions. However, sources said that both the DSP and ASI died due to bullet injuries.
A government spokesman said, "While trying to escape from the army cordon, a militant who was hiding in the area opened fire, causing more casualties."
The spokesman claimed that the militant "looked to be a non-Kashmiri foreigner who had tried to disguise himself as a sadhu by wearing a saffron headband and keeping a wild beard".
He said, "The AK-47 rifle which he was carrying bore the label of Lashkar-e- Tayiba, and a note in Urdu found on his person indicated that his stated mission was to promote the cause of his faith and bring ruin to India."
State Governor Saxena and the Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah have condemned the attack.
The overall situation in the state was reviewed at a high-level meeting, which was presided over by the governor and was attended by the chief minister, senior army and police officials.
The authorities have mounted a massive search operation along the entire trek. "We will allow the yatris on the route only after it is completely sanitised," said a police officer.
Meanwhile, the administration has handed over the security of the cave shrine to Jammu and Kashmir and has withdrawn the Central Reserve Police Force. This follows the severe thrashing of cops of the Jammu and Kashmir police, including an officer, by the CRPF on Friday.
The situation was controlled by the timely intervention of the army and the Border Security Force.
5 pilgrims among 11 killed in Amarnath blast
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