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At least nine killed after attack on bus in Indian-administered Kashmir

In News, World
June 09, 2024

Police say at least nine killed, 33 injured after a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims plunged into a gorge after a shooting attack.

At least nine people have been killed and 33 others injured after a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims in Indian-administered Kashmir tumbled into a ravine after a suspected shooting attack, police said.

The crash happened on Sunday near Reasi town, in the south of the disputed territory, as the bus was returning from a popular Hindu shrine in the area.

“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,” Reasi district’s police chief Mohita Sharma told reporters.

She said the rescue operation was completed and the injured were taken to Narayana Hospital and Reasi District Hospital.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

The bus was carrying pilgrims to the base camp of the Hindu temple Mata Vaishno Devi when it came under attack, senior administrative officer Vishesh Mahajan said.

India’s Opposition Congress party president Mallikarjun Kharge condemned the “gruesome terror attack” in a post on social media platform X.

Modi’s “chest-thumping propaganda of bringing peace and normalcy … rings hollow”, he said.

The Himalayan region, which is also claimed by Pakistan, has been roiled by violence since the start of an armed rebellion in 1989. Tens of thousands of people have been killed, although violence has tapered off in recent years.

India regularly accuses Pakistan of supporting and arming rebels in Kashmir, a charge Islamabad denies.

The last big attack on Hindu pilgrims in the region happened in 2017 when a bus was targeted, killing eight people.

Sunday’s attack comes a day after police chief RR Swain said the number of local fighters in the territory was dropping but 70-80 foreign fighters remained active.

Moreover, violence and anti-India protests have also drastically fallen since 2019, when Modi’s government cancelled the region’s limited autonomy.

No separatist group called for a boycott of the recently concluded general election – a first since the armed revolt erupted in the territory.

The vote in the region saw a 58.6 percent turnout, according to India’s election commission, a 30-percentage-point jump from the last vote in 2019 and the highest in 35 years.

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