Srinagar (PTI) : Seven persons have been killed and nineteen injured in a cowardly terror attack on the bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims at Anantnag in Jammu- Kashmir. Further casualties were avoided due to the presence of mind shown by ’Sheikh Salim Gafoor’ the driver of the bus. President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have strongly condemned this attack, while there are angry reactions over this from all over the nation. From US to Germany and from to Bangladesh and Nepal, all have condemned this attack. There is a strong possibility that Lashkar-e-Taiba, operating its network from Pakistan could be behind this attack.
Earlier the terrorists had attacked a police vehicle in the Bantigoo area of Anantnang. This bus was passing through the area at that time. The terrorists were trying to flee from the place on account of strong retaliatory attack from the police. As the bus carrying the pilgrims came, the terrorists made the bus its target. This incident happened on Monday night at 8:20 pm. The terrorists fired indiscriminately at the bus, while one terrorist even tried entering it. However the helper in the bus pushed the terrorist out.
Keeping his presence of mind the driver ‘Sheikh Salim Gafoor’, did not stop the businspite of the firing. As Gafoor drove keeping himself low in the seat, all the efforts of the terrorists to get in the bus failed. On account of this the lives of the other pilgrims were saved. However, seven people died in the attack in which five are women. It has been said that over nineteen persons are injured. Hearing the news of the attack, the Jammu & Kashmir Police and the security forces rushed to the spot. The Chief Minister of Jammu-Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti visited Anantnag and enquired about the pilgrims.
The Chief Minister in her reaction to the attack said that heads of the people of Jammu & Kashmir hang in shame. She further added that strong measures would be taken against the terrorists. Strong reactions condemning the attack came forth from the nation. President Pranab Mukherjee condemned the attack. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi while condemning the attack warned that the nation will not be bogged down by these attacks. He said that he has had discussions with the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Governor Vora, and had promised all help from the Central Government to the State. The National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval had also spoken and informed about the attack to the Prime Minister.
The Home Minister Rajnath Singh has ordered further tighter security measures for the safety of Amarnath pilgrims. The Jammu & Kashmir Cabinettoo has condemned the attack. There have been reactions at an international level on these attacks, with US and Germany condemning it. Nepal and Bangladesh have conveyed their support to India while condemning this attack. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, has expressed her grief over this attack in her letter to the Indian Prime Minister and conveyed full support of Bangladesh to India in this ‘difficult hour’. Meanwhile, the Government of Jammu-Kashmir and Shree Amarnathji Shrine Board have declared reward of Rs. 5 lakhs to the driver Gafoor who saved lives of pilgrims. People however have expressed confidence that inspite of the attack the Amarnath Pilgrimage would continue till completion.