Terrorists killed seven Amaranth pilgrims, including six women, and injured 19 others as they struck at a bus in Kashmir's Anantnag district, in the worst attack on the annual pilgrimage since the year 2001.
Five of those killed were from Gujarat and two from Maharashtra.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack and assured all possible help to the victims. A high-level meeting has been called on Tuesday which would be attended by home minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and all senior officials.
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti met the injured in Anantnag hospital. she condemned the attack and hoped that involved perpetrators would be brought to justice.
The deceased from Gujarat were identified as Hasuben Ratila Patal, Surakha Ben and Lakshimiben S Patal from Valsad, Ratan Zeena Bhai Patal of Daman and Prajapati Champaben of Navsari, a Jammu and Kashmir police spokesperson said.
Those from Maharashtra were Nirmala Ben Thakor, a resident of Palghar, and Usha Mohanla Sonkar of Danu. Police said 19 pilgrims were injured in the attack and their condition is stable.
The bus bearing the registration number GJ09Z 9976 was attacked around 8.20 pm near Khanabal when it was on its way to from Srinagar Jammu, police said.
A security official said the victims had performed the yatra two days ago and had subsequently moved to Srinagar.
They were going from Srinagar to Jammu when they became the target of the terrorist attack.
Police said the bus was not a part of the yatra convoy which is being provided elaborate security.
The terrorists first attacked a bullet-proof bunker of the police at Botengoo, a police official said, adding it was retaliated. There were no injuries in this attack. Thereafter the terrorists fired on a police picket near Khannabal, the police added.
When the police retaliated, the militants fled, firing indiscriminately in which the bus carrying the yatris got it.
Seven of the pilgrims were killed and 32 were injured, the police said.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh asserted that injured Amarnath pilgrims in terror attack in Anantnag district will be airlifted to Delhi on Tuesday.
“The dead and the injured pilgrims will be shifted to Srinagar tonight. They will then be airlifted to New Delhi in a special BSF aircraft at 7:30 am on Tuesday,” he said.
The deputy chief minister, who accompanied Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to Anantnag, said the injured were out of danger.
Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner Mandeep Bhandari said the Amarnath yatra will continue from Jammu Tuesday.
“The yatra will not be disrupted and it will continue as per the plans on Tuesday,” he told.