SRINAGAR: The seven Amarnath yatris killed in yesterday’s militant attack in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir have been identified and all of them belonged to Gujarat.
At least 7 Amarnath yatris were killed and 19 others injured when militants fired on a vehicle of Amarnath yatris, which was on way to Jammu from Baltal, at Botengoo in Anantnag at around 8.20 pm yesterday.
The yatra vehicle was not part of the main yatra convoy and was not being escorted by any security vehicle, CRPF spokesman in Srinagar, Rajesh Yadav, said.
The main yatra convoys are escorted by CRPF vehicles.
All the seven pilgrims killed in the militant attack belonged to Gujarat.
They have been identified as Surakha Ben R/o Udwada R S Near Bhagini Samaj School district Valsad, Gujarat; Patal Lakshimiben R/o Valsad, Gujarat; Hasuben Ratila Patal R/o Vadoli School Faliya, Valsad, Gujarat; Thokar Nirmala Ben wife of Bharat Thokar R/o Dhanu district Palghar, Maharashtra; Usha Mohanla Sonkar W/o Mohan Roti Ram Sonkar R/o Danu district Valgad, Maharashtra; Ratan Zeena Bhai Patal S/o Zina Bhai R/o Daman Kunta district Daman, Gujarat and Praja Pati Champaben W/o Raman Bhai R/o Gandevi district Navsar, Gujarat.
Of the 19 injured, 11 belonged to Gujarat and nine hailed from Maharashtra.
A police spokesman said the condition of all the injured is stable.
The dead and injured would be airlifted to their respective places, sources said.
No militant group has claimed responsibility of the militant attack.
A police spokesman said militants initially attacked a police Bullet Proof (BP) bunker at Botengoo in Anantnag.
He said the fire was returned by the cops and there were no report of injuries.
“Thereafter, the militants fired on a police naka near Khannabal. The fire was retaliated. An Amarnath yatri bus was hit by bullets in which about seven yatris were killed and 19 others injured,” the spokesman said.
The militant attack on yatra bus has drawn widespread condemnation in Jammu and Kashmir.
J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, opposition National Conference working president and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik and religious, trade and social organizations have strongly condemned the militant attack on Amarnath yatris.
The 40-day annual yatra to the 3,880 metre high cave shrine of Amarnath commenced from both 28.2 km traditional Pahalgam route in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district and 9.5 kms Batal route in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir from June 29 and will end on 'Raksha Bandhan' on August 7.
This year over 35,000 security personnel including police, CRPF, SSB, ITBP, BSF and army men were deployed for Yatra duty to ensure the safe passage for yatris and smooth conduct of yatra.
The security measures were tightened this year in view of intelligence inputs that militants were planning an attack on the yatra, a security official said.