In the dastardly attack, terrorists opened fire on the bus with pilgrims who were returning after visiting the deity at Amarnath in Jammu and Kashmir in India. As of now seven of the pilgrims have been confirmed to be dead and 12 others have been injured.
The pilgrims were traveling in a private bus and were mostly from Gujarat. The bus was attacked at Anantnag in the narrow gorge in the valley.
Amarnath, the Hindu shrine located at an altitude of 3888 meters in Jammu and Kashmir is visited every year by devotees who throng the temple to pay respect to the famous ice stalagmite which is formed over the winters. Many pilgrims from all over the world visit the shrine from July to August.
Police sources say that the bus was not a part of the official tour for the yatra and thus did not have the customary police protection that is provided. The bus was also violating the rules that the pilgrims have to follow as it was traveling on the highway after 7 pm, which has been specifically banned due to obvious security reasons.
News reports have mentioned that the terrorists had first fired on a security check post 600 meters from the place where the bus was attacked, then had opened fire at an armored police car, who had fired back. The bus carrying the pilgrims was hit as the terrorists fired indiscriminately while on their escape route.
Our hearts go out to those who have lost their lives and we pray for the families who have lost their loved ones. Terrorism has no religion. Violence in the name of religion only fosters more violence and this attack is another challenge that the fraught government of Jammu & Kashmir will have to take fire for.