Amarnath attack on pilgrims aimed at deepening communal divide': CPM

Akshay Kumar

At least seven Hindu pilgrims, a lot of them women, have been killed in a gun battle that erupted in Indian-administrated Kashmir after suspected rebel fighters attacked a police vehicle, officials said.

Reports said security measures were tightened this year in view of intelligence inputs that militants were planning an attack on the yatra.

As NPR's Julie McCarthy notes, there have been competing accounts of the motives behind the attack: "One version of events says the bus full of more than 50 pilgrims got caught in the crossfire", she reports for NPR's Newscast unit.

The sit-in was organised at at Pratap Park in Lal Chowk area of the city. Passengers said the bus suffered a tyre puncture and they spent almost one-and-a-half hours on the side of the road, and were still in Kashmir around 8.20pm when the attack occurred.

The pilgrims were returning after paying obeisance at the shrine nestled in the Himalayas at a height of 4,115 metres when the attack occurred. However, the SHRC is yet to admit his petition. "Prayers for the victims & may God give strength to the families of the #AmarnathYatra pilgrims". "We have ensured that the best medical aid is arranged here for those injured", said CM Rupani at Surat airport. "We urge the Trump Administration to designate Hizbul Mujahideen as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and clamp down on Pakistan for its continued support of Hizbul and other terrorist groups carrying out attacks in India". The militants attacked an armoured vehicle of the police at 8.20 pm yesterday.




"I would like to thank Sheikh and Desai for the way they saved the lives of pilgrims by driving the bus without stopping amidst the firing. Condemning the "barbaric" attack, the prime minister must answer", he said.

Security sources have also informed that the bus was on way to Jammu from Baltal in central Kashmir's Ganderbal district and was not a part of the yatri convoy. Eight people were killed.

"I first thought they were crackers". The driver of the bus, identified as Salim Sheikh, risking his own life kept driving the vehicle for almost 2 km and saved many lives. "It was only a few moments later that I realised the horror as I saw my fellow passengers getting hit by the terrorists' bullets and slumping", Abhyankar told PTI in Mumbai.

The chief minister said seven people, including six women, were killed in the dastardly attack.

The Centre on Tuesday appealed to all pilgrims undertaking the pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine to follow existing safety protocols and to cooperate with the administration.

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