16 pil­grims killed in bus crash in Kash­mir: Po­lice

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Srinagar, In­dia - At least 16 Hindu pil­grims were killed and many more in­jured on Sun­day in a bus crash in north­ern In­dia, po­lice said, just days af­ter gun­men shot dead eight wor­ship­pers mak­ing the same holy visit.

The bus plunged into a gorge in Jammu and Kash­mir, the state where hun­dreds of Hin­dus make the an­nual pil­grim­age to a Hi­malayan cave revered as the abode of the god Shiva.

‘Six­teen peo­ple are now con­firmed dead, 19 with se­ri­ous in­juries and eight others with mi­nor in­juries’, the state’s po­lice force said in a state­ment on Sun­day.

Some of the worst in­jured are be­ing air­lifted to hos­pi­tal, while others were taken to lo­cal clin­ics for treat­ment, po­lice said.

For the sec­ond time in a week, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi of­fered his con­do­lences to the pil­grims who died mak­ing the holy jour­ney.

“Ex­tremely pained by the loss of lives of Amar­nath Ya­tris (pil­grims) due to a bus ac­ci­dent in J&K,” the Prime Min­is­ter said, re­fer­ring to the state by its ini­tials.

“My thoughts are with the fam­i­lies of the de­ceased.”

The tragedy came as an­other

Hindu pil­grim died on Sun­day from in­juries sus­tained six days ago when uniden­ti­fied gun­men opened fire on a bus full of wor­ship­pers.

“One lady who was in­jured in the July 10 at­tack suc­cumbed to her in­juries in hos­pi­tal,” S P Vaid,

the state’s Direc­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice, told AFP.

Her death takes the toll from Mon­day’s at­tack to eight, with seven women and one man killed in the late-night as­sault. Most of the vic­tims were from the western state of Gu­jarat.

It was the worst such at­tack in the di­vided Hi­malayan re­gion since 2000 when gun­men fired on a group of Hindu pil­grims, killing 32 peo­ple in­clud­ing two po­lice of­fi­cers.

In­dian lead­ers and Kash­miri sep­a­ratists united in their con­dem­na­tion of this lat­est at­tack. No group has yet claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Au­thor­i­ties said the twom­onth pil­grim­age sea­son would con­tinue af­ter the at­tack on the bus, which was not part of the of­fi­cial con­voy car­ry­ing pil­grims.

Tens of thou­sands of Hin­dus from all over In­dia travel to Kash­mir every year to visit an ice for­ma­tion in the Amar­nath caves that is wor­shipped as a sym­bol of Shiva, the Hindu de­ity of de­struc­tion. The caves, which lie 3,900m high and can only be reached on foot or on horse­back, are seen as a sym­bol of re­li­gious unity in the volatile re­gion.

(AFP)

Po­lice per­son­nel and lo­cal res­i­dents carry in­jured from the site of a bus ac­ci­dent at a place about 140km from Jammu, in the Ram­ban dis­trict of Jammu and Kash­mir on Sun­day

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