Mehbooba Mufti: Head of every Kashmiri hangs in shame over attack

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According to reports, Monday's attack was carried out by the Lashkar-e-Toiba and was masterminded by a Pakistani terrorist Ismail.

Denouncing the "dastardly and inhuman" attack on Amarnath pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir, the Left parties said today it was aimed at deepening communal divide and demanded that the culprits be brought to book. While the number of attackers is still not clear, police suspect that there would have been 5 to 6 of them. Travel is restricted at night.

A special operations group vehicle was travelling on the road behind the bus but didn't stop the Gujarat-registered vehicle. This delay separated the bus from the rest of the convoy, which proved to be fatal for some of its passengers. "Why no action was taken (on intelligence reports)?"

General Rawat was briefed by the Srinagar-based XV (Chinar) Corps Commander on the prevailing security situation.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.

When the police retaliated, they fired incessantly during which the bus carrying the pilgrims was hit. "Had he stopped his bus, the terrorists were firing indiscriminately". Mr Shah said, he has spoken to the BJP District President and MLC from Anantnag and asked the party workers in Kashmir to help the pilgrims in need.

The police force added the pilgrims were from the western Indian state of Gujarat. More than 200 pilgrims lost their lives in September 1996, due to a sudden drop in temperature.

Kumar said they were happy with the arrangements made by the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board and the local authorities, including security officials, for the yatra. (Photo credit: PTI).A joint attack?

It may be mentioned that Muslim driver of this Muhammad Saleem did not spot bus when terrorists started firing at his vehicle and managed to reach a safer place although 20 Yatris mostly women were injured inside bus after terrorists attacked bus in Batengoo Bazar while returning from Baltal to Mir Bazar.

Mohanlal Sonkar, husband of Usha Sonkar who was killed in the terror attack, said his wife had called him yesterday.

The Hizbul Mujahideen, which suffered major casualties almost a decade ago, started regrouping a few years ago.

Yet the violence has done little to slow the pilgrimage, which yearly swells with tens of thousands of people. "We just follow the path he puts us on", he said. "[They] wanted to show that they could hit the convoy even though it was under such heavy protection by almost 40,000 troops".

A high level meeting took place at the residence of the Home Minister Rajnath Singh, which included National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other top officials from the home ministry, intelligence agencies and central paramilitary forces. Expressing deep shock over the killings, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said, "Yatris were esteemed guests of Kashmir and perpetrators of this crime have done a death blow to the ethos and culture of the state".

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