On Sunday, June 9, 2024, 10 Hindu pilgrims were killed and 33 others injured after suspected militants ambushed their bus in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir. The victims were on their way to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine when the attack occurred.

Reasi: 9 Hindu Pilgrims Killed, 33 Injured

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On June 10, 2024, a terrorist attack occurred in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, targeting a bus carrying pilgrims.

The ambush resulted in 10 deaths and 33 injuries. The victims were pilgrims traveling from the Shiv Khori temple to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra.

The bus was ambushed near Teryath village in the Poni area. The terrorists exploited the bus’s slow speed on a bend to open fire, causing the bus to veer off the road and plunge into a deep gorge.

Security forces including senior police officials and army personnel responded swiftly, cordoning off the area and launching a search operation.

The bus carrying 53 pilgrims from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan was attacked by militants armed with M4 carbines.

The attack took place near the village of Teryath in Reasi. The driver, after being shot lost control of the bus, which then veered off the road and plunged into a gorge.

Authorities reported 10 fatalities, but the number was later revised to nine. Among the deceased were two children, aged two and 14. The injured were rushed to nearby hospitals for urgent medical attention.

A joint operation was launched by the Indian army and local police to rescue the victims and recover the bodies. The rescue operations concluded late Sunday night, while efforts to locate the attackers continued.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instructed for the best possible medical care to be provided to the injured. Compensation of 1 million rupees was announced for the next of kin of the deceased and 50,000 rupees for those injured.

Prime Minister Modi condemned the attack labeling it a heinous act and told that those responsible would be punished.

He has been personally monitoring the situation and has directed all necessary measures to support the victims’ families.

Various political leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed their grief and condemned the attack.

Shah assured that the culprits would face severe consequences, while Gandhi criticized the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Reports suggest that three foreign terrorists were involved in the attack. The use of M4 carbines, typically used by militaries and special forces worldwide.

Unconfirmed reports suggested that at least two terrorists were hiding in the forested areas of Reasi.

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Jammu and Kashmir has seen numerous attacks in the past, often targeting Hindu pilgrims including the 2017 attack on Amarnath pilgrims that resulted in seven deaths.

The Reasi district previously considered relatively peaceful compared to neighboring regions like Rajouri and Poonch which has now become the site of violence.

A joint operation headquarters was established involving the J&K police, the Indian Army and the CRPF. The authorities have intensified search operations in the upper reaches of Reasi and neighboring districts to apprehend the attackers.

Opposition leaders including Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticized the government for the lapse in security and demanded a thorough investigation.

Protests erupted across the Jammu division with people demanding strict action against the terrorists.

The attack occurred on the day Prime Minister Modi was sworn in for his third consecutive term. The pilgrimage to Mata Vaishno Devi and other shrines in the area is likely to be affected with security measures and increased vigilance.

CCTV footage provided insights into the moments leading up to the attack. The footage showed the bus’s route and the ambush point.

The footage is being used by investigative agencies to understand the sequence of events better and identify potential suspects or patterns.

The bus driver attempted to maintain control but ultimately lost balance due to the gunfire leading to the bus plunging into the gorge.

One survivor, Bhawani Shankar described hiding his children under the bus seat as bullets rained down.

A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been dispatched to assist local authorities in investigating the attack. They are working to uncover the perpetrators and their motives.

Security measures have been increased in the region with additional forces deployed and drones being used to search for the attackers.

Eleven teams have been mobilized to pursue leads along multiple axes. Intensive search operations are ongoing, involving both local police and army personnel.

Jammu and Kashmir’s Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha condemned the attack and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured.

Survivors like Bhawani Shankar from Delhi shared their experiences including hiding under seats and hearing continuous gunfire.

Families have been devastated with some losing multiple members in the attack. The victims included members of a family from Jaipur, Rajasthan and two cousins from Uttar Pradesh, among others. Survivors are receiving medical treatment in various hospitals across Jammu and Kashmir.

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