Mumbai: A recent terrorist attack in the South of Kashmir has left at least 7 pilgrims dead and injured 12 others three of which were policemen. The attack is suspected to be a joint operation between Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen. The terrorists attacked an armored police vehicle at around 8:20 pm last night and when the police began to return fire, the terrorists started shooting indiscriminately at police and civilians alike.
The pilgrims were travelling to the Amarnath shrine, which is considered to be one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism. According to a top state official this is the first-time terrorists have attacked the Amarnath pilgrims. The police also claim that the driver of the pilgrim’s bus had violated the rules of the pilgrimage, according to which no vehicles must ply on the highway after 7 pm, which in a cruel twist of fate led to the pilgrims being present at the scene of the attack.
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The Amarnath yatra has been suspended before by the Jammu Kashmir government after the death of the terrorist leader Burhan Wani and it is unclear whether the government will consider calling off the pilgrimage once again.
The attack has been met with a strong government response, with the the 90th and 40th battalions of the CRPF being deployed in the area. Furthermore, internet services have also been banned in the surrounding area after the attack. The attack has also received widespread condemnation from the various Kashmiri political circles. A tweet from Kashmir Opposition leader, Omar Abdullah read as “Every right thinking Kashmiri must today condemn the killings of the Amarnath yatris and say unequivocally, this is #NotInMyName. These terrorists are the enemies of Kashmir & Kashmiriyat, no two ways about that.”
The attack has even received condemnation from Kashmiri separatist leaders like Yasin Malik, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who in a joint statement said that “The incident goes against the very grain of the Kashmiri ethos”
It is clear that such cowardly attacks against civilians must not be tolerated. The government must hunt down the militants responsible for the attack and bring them to justice.