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J-K: 9 pilgrims killed as bus falls into gorge after terror attack

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: June 10, 2024 03:25 IST
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Nine people including three women were killed and 33 injured as a bus carrying pilgrims from Uttar Pradesh and Delhi plunged into a deep gorge after an ambush by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district on Sunday evening, police said, as political leaders cutting across party lines strongly condemn the dastardly attack.

Photograph: Umar Ganie for

The terrorists opened fire at the bus when it was en route from Shiv Khori temple to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine at Katra near Teryath village in the Poni area. The bus, a 53-seater, veered off the road and plunged into the deep gorge following the gunfire at around 6.15 pm.

"An unfortunate incident occurred and as per the initial reports, the terrorists had laid an ambush and opened fire on the bus which had left Shiv Khori for Katra. The driver lost balance and the vehicle fell into the gorge," Senior Superintendent of Police, Reasi, Mohita Sharma told reporters at the scene.


Sharma said the rescue operation was completed and so far nine persons were dead and 33 others injured in the incident and they have been shifted to different hospitals.

"The identity of the deceased is not clear yet but preliminary reports suggest that they all belong to Uttar Pradesh," the officer said.

Sharma said they usually remain on high alert and have fully secured the Shiv Khori temple with frequent conduct of area domination patrols in the adjoining areas for the past many days.

"We have also started firing practice for the Village Defence Guards and they all have been put on alert," the SSP said.

Deputy Commissioner, Reasi Vishesh Paul Mahajan, who also reached the scene to coordinate rescue and search operations, said three of the dead were women.

"While bodies of four persons are in a hospital near the site, five others were shifted to district hospital Reasi," he said, adding it was not immediately clear whether any of the deceased was also hit by the bullets.

Several groups of people held protests in different areas of Jammu division including Reasi against the terror attack and demanded stern action against the culprits.

Reasi district had previously been relatively untouched by terrorist activities compared to neighbouring areas like Rajouri and Poonch.

Locals rushed to the site and started assisting the victims. Eyewitnesses shared harrowing accounts of the attack, with one survivor describing how the bus was barraged with 25 to 30 shots before it plunged down the gorge.

Another witness recalled seeing a masked assailant in a red muffler firing on the bus. The injured pilgrims were rushed to Teryath Hospital, Narayan Hospital and Reasi District Hospital for treatment.

"We were supposed to leave at 4 pm but the bus left around 5.30 pm and suddenly came under fire," an injured pilgrim from Banaras, admitted to Teryath hospital, said.

Santosh Kumar of UP, who was admitted to the district hospital, said "I was sitting next to the bus driver and the vehicle was coming downhill from dense forests when I saw a man wearing army-like clothes and covering his face and head with black cloth appeared in front of the bus and fired indiscriminately."

"The driver was hit in the firing and the bus plunged into the gorge," he said, adding the terrorists continued the firing for several minutes on the bus.

"We were left in a helpless state in the gorge before some locals arrived there and helped us. Later some police personnel also reached," he said.

A joint security force temporary operation headquarters by Police, Army and CRPF has been set up at the site and a multidimensional operation has been launched to get at the attackers.

Security forces from Reasi and the neighbouring Rajouri district were mobilised for a comprehensive search to locate and eliminate the terrorists responsible for the heinous act.

The incident underscores the persistent threat posed by Pakistan-based terrorist elements seeking to instigate unrest and revive militancy in the Jammu region.

Union Minister Amit Shah said those involved in the dastardly terror attack on pilgrims will not be spared and will face the wrath of the law.

Soon after taking oath as Union Minister for the second time on Sunday, Shah said he had spoken to Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha and J-K DGP R R Swain and took stock of the situation arising after the terror attack that has claimed nine lives so far.

'Deeply pained by the incident of the attack on pilgrims in Reasi, J&K. Spoke to the Lieutenant Governor and the DGP, J-K, and inquired about the incident. The culprits of this dastardly attack will not be spared and will face the wrath of the law,' he wrote on 'X'.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said the prime minister took stock of the situation in the aftermath of the attack and directed him to constantly monitor the situation and ensure all possible help to the affected families.

"All those behind this heinous act will be punished soon. Hon'ble PM has also directed that all the injured are provided the best possible medical care & assistance," he said.

The Congress said the incident reflects the true picture of the worrying security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said, "Even while PM, Shri Narendra Modi and his NDA Government get sworn in and heads of several countries are in the country, a dastardly terrorist attack on a bus carrying pilgrims has resulted in loss of lives.. ."

Former chief ministers of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah of the National Conference (NC), Mehbooba Mufti of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP), besides UP CM Yogi Adityanath, also condemned the terrorist attack.

'Terrible news from Reasi in J&K ... I unequivocally condemn this attack. It is unfortunate to see areas that had previously been cleared of all militants see a return of militancy. May the deceased rest in peace & may the injured make a swift recovery,' Omar posted on X.

Meanwhile, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) strongly condemned the terrorist attack and demanded stern action against terror groups and complete sanitisation of the region to free it from terrorists.

This was the second time terrorists attacked a pilgrim bus in Jammu and Kashmir in the past three decades.

Earlier, a bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims was fired upon by terrorists in Kashmir's Anantnag district in July 2017, killing seven pilgrims and injuring 19 others.

Jammu and Kashmir police spokesperson said in a statement that a bus carrying yatris from Shiv Khori to Katra was targeted 'apparently by terrorists using firearms' at about 6.10 pm in the Pouni area of Reasi district bordering Rajouri district.

The driver was hit and lost control, resulting in the bus sliding into the nearby gorge.

"With the help of local villagers, police have evacuated all the passengers by 8.10 pm. SP Reasi supervised the evacuation and dispatched the injured to different hospitals.

The 33 injured have been referred to various hospitals -- 13 in Reasi, five in Community Health Centre Treyath and 15 to GMC in Jammu.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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