July 11, 2017
As terror struck a bus carrying Amarnath yatris on Monday night, the bus driver managed to save lives of 50 people and moved them to a safer place even as terrorists continued to fire indiscriminately at the vehicle. At least seven people were killed and 19 others were injured after terrorists attacked a bus ferrying Amarnath Yatra pilgrims in Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir.
Narrating the tragic incident, Javed Mirza, bus driver Saleem’s cousin, said that he received a call from him around 9:30 PM informing about the attack. “He called me up around 9:30 PM informing about firing on the vehicle. He told me that he did not stop there when terrorists fired and only looked for a safer spot for pilgrims. He couldn’t save seven lives but managed to move 50 people to a safe place. I am proud of him,” Javed said.
Around 8:20 PM on Monday, terrorists first attacked two police posts before fleeing and then opening fire at bus carrying Amarnath Yatra pilgrims near Khanabal in Anantnag district. The bus was attacked in Batengoo while returning from Baltal to Mir Bazar after darshan, J&K police and CRPF said.
The bus, GJ 09 Z 9976, which was registered in Gujarat’s Sabarkantha district, violated security protocol and was ferrying pilgrims without a police escort on highway after 7 PM, said the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in a statement. The security cover for Amarnath Yatra convoys is withdrawn after 7 PM and no buses carrying pilgrims are supposed to be commuting on a highway.
Breaking another security protocol, the vehicle was not registered with the Amarnath Shrine Board and was not part of a pilgrim convoy. The pilgrims had finished their yatra two days ago and had subsequently moved to Srinagar.
The attack took place hours after the state police claimed to have busted a Lashkar-e-Taiba module with the arrests of two persons, including Sandeep Kumar Sharma alias Adil, a resident of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh.
The last known terror attack on the Amarnath Yatra was the killing of 30 persons, mostly pilgrims, in the base camp in Pahalgam in 2000.