SRINAGAR: The security agencies have launched investigations into yesterday’s militant attack on Amarnath yatris in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district in Jammu and Kashmir in which seven pilgrims were killed and 19 others injured. The militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba has condemned the attack on pilgrims and termed it “high reprehensible act”.
“The militant attack on yatris is being investigated by police,” IG CRPF (Operations), Zulfikar Hassan told reporters in south Kashmir’s Anantnag town.
He visited the spot at Botengo in Anantnag, where militants had yesterday attacked an Amarnath yatris bus killing seven pilgrims including six women and injuring 19 others. All the dead belonged to Gujarat.
Zulfikar said since investigations have been launched, they would soon know how the militant attack took place.
Asked which militant group was responsible for the attack, the IG CPRF said, “It will take some time for security agencies to identify the militant group behind the attack”.
He said the yatri bus attacked by militants was plying after the Road Opening Parties (ROPs) to ensure safety of Amarnath pilgrims was withdrawn.
The bus, which was on way to Jammu from Baltal, was not part of the main yatra convoy and was not being escorted by any security vehicle, CRPF spokesman in Srinagar, Rajesh Yadav, said.
After the militant attack, J&K Governor N N Vohra, who is also chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), held a midnight meeting to review course of the yatra, a Rajbhavan spokesman said.
He said it was decided that the yatra shall continue without any diminution whatsoever and this decision was conveyed to all camp directors and to the Yatri Niwas, Jammu, from where pilgrims leave for the Valley in a convoy every morning.
He said 3289 pilgrims left Jammu at 3 am in the morning for Pahalgam and Baltal yatra base camps in Valley.
“By 10.30 am today, 18838 pilgrims had left for the cave shrine in south Kashmir’s Himalayas from Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Panjtarni and Baltal Yatra camps. 5556 pilgrims, who left Chandanwari this morning, would need to halt en-route and reach the Shrine the next day,” the spokesman said.
He said the heli-services from Pahalgam and Neelgrath are operating normally as the weather is clear.
Governor has directed CEO SASB to hold yatra review meetings twice a day.
Meanwhile, militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba has condemned the militant attack on yatris.
Lashkar spokesman Dr. Abdullah Ghaznavi in an emailed statement said the attack on Amarnath pilgrims was a highly reprehensible act.
“Islam does not allow violence against any faith. We strongly condemn such acts,” he said.
The LeT spokesman claimed that India wants to sabotage the struggle of Kashmiris, and uses “such attacks to full fill its nefarious agenda”.
“At times India uses Hindus of UP to hide its terror face, and when it fails, they use false flag attacks against Amarnath yatris,” he said adding no Kashmiri has ever targeted any Amarnath pilgrim.
“This barbarity and atrocity is trademark of Indian forces. Indian NSA Ajit Doval is frustrated due to his failed policies and has turned to such dastardly acts,” Ghaznavi claimed.
“India wants to pave way for its anti-Kashmir policies by using such acts but, it is bound to fail like in past,” he added.