Hindu Pilgrims Attacked By Islamist Militants in Kashmir

Indian authorities are investigating a suspected terrorist attack after militants opened fire at a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims to the Shiv Khori cave temple in Indian-controlled Kashmir, plunging the vehicle into a deep gorge and killing nine and injuring 33 others.

The bus was on its way to the base camp of the prominent Hindu temple Mata Vaishno Devi when suspected rebels fired at the bus on June 9th, causing the vehicle to fall into a deep gorge in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district, killing nine pilgrims and injuring 33 others.

Mohita Sharma, Senior Superintendent Of Police of the Reasi district, said the bus driver lost control of the vehicle when the militants fired upon it, where it subsequently fell into the gorge. Visuals of the site showed some bodies scattered along the hillside. 

The Press Trust of India, the country’s largest news agency, reported that a team from India’s National Investigation Agency reached the site of the attack, with Indian security forces trying to track down those who were responsible for the attack. Locals were also seen helping in rescue operations, and ambulances were lined up.

"Initial reports suggest that terrorists fired upon the passenger bus... Due to the firing, the bus driver lost balance of the bus, and it fell into the gorge. Thirty-three people were injured in the incident. The rescue operation has been completed. The identities of the passengers have not been confirmed yet. They are not locals. Shiv Khori shrine was secured, and area domination was done," Sharma said.

Jammu and Kashmir Lt. Gov. Manoj Sinh announced that the government will provide compensation worth $11,975 each for families of those killed while offering nearly $600 to those who were injured.

Amit Shah, India’s Minister of Home Affairs, said he was in touch with Sinha and that the local government is providing speedy medical attention to the victims of the attack.

The culprits of this dastardly attack will not be spared and will face the wrath of the law,” Shah posted on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter).

A police officer also said some of the victims had gunshot wounds and blamed the attack on Muslim militants who are fighting Indian rule in Kashmir. No one immediately took responsibility for the attack.

India administers part of Jammu and Kashmir, along with its neighbor and rival Pakistan. Both countries claim the territory in its entirety. Many Muslim residents of Kashmir support rebel groups who have been fighting for the territory’s independence or merger with Pakistan since 1989.

The attack also marks a significant escalation of violence in the region, where tens of thousands of civilians, rebel fighters, and soldiers have been killed in the conflict. Reasi district has been relatively untouched by rebel or terrorist activities compared to other neighboring districts.

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