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India: Hindu pilgrims dead after militant attack in Kashmir

June 10, 2024

Indian soldiers are carrying out a manhunt after the suspected militant attack in Kashmir. It came after Narendra Modi's third oath ceremony for prime minister took place.

Indian security men inspect the bus that allegedly came under a suspected militant attack in Kashmir
A probe has been launched to find the attackers, police saidImage: Channi Anand/AP Photo/picture alliance

At least nine Hindu pilgrims were killed in India-controlled Kashmir on Sunday as the bus carrying them fell into a deep gorge following a suspected militant attack, officials said on Monday.

The militants attacked the bus traveling to the famous Hindu temple Mata Vaishno Devi in the Reasi district, senior administrative officer Vishesh Mahajan said.

"Militants ambushed the bus and fired at it indiscriminately. The bus fell into a gorge, leading to the death of nine pilgrims, and 33 are injured," said Mohita Sharma, district police chief of Reasi.

The Associated Press (AP) news agency reported, citing police, that some of the victims had bullet wounds. The police officer blamed militants who are opposed to India's rule in Kashmir for the attack.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The wounded pilgrims were hospitalized and a probe to find the attackers has been initiated, a police statement said.

'Worrying security situation' in Kashmir

The news came as Narendra Modi took oath as prime minister for a historic third term amid sharp criticism from the opposition.

"This shameful incident is the true picture of the worrying security situation in Jammu and Kashmir," opposition leader Rahul Gandhi wrote in a post on X.

Police chief RR Swain said a day earlier that there had been a drop in the number of local militants in the territory but that around 70 to 80 foreign militants remain active.

Kashmir has remained a volatile region as rebel groups have continued fighting for Kashmir's independence or union with neighboring Pakistan.

The conflict has claimed the lives of several civilians, rebels and government personnel.

Both India and Pakistan control a part of Kashmir, but both claim the territory in its entirety.

mfi/kb (AP, Reuters)

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