Centre, J&K govt review security
The bodies of all seven Amarnath Yatra pilgrims killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir arrived in Surat on Tuesday afternoon. Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani received the bodies along with 19 injured pilgrims and 32 others who were flown from Srinagar.
"The family members of the killed pilgrims will be provided Rs 10 lakh compensation by the Gujarat government while the injured will be given Rs 2 lakh," Rupani said.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti held an emergency meeting of Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet while Governor N N Vohra reviewed the security of Amarnath yatra in the wake of Monday's terror attack. Earlier, the governor, who is also the chairman of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), convened a security review meeting attended by top civil administration, police, army, CRPF and intelligence officers of the state.
The bus carrying the Amarnath pilgrims was attacked twice in quick succession by two teams of terrorists, who escaped after spraying bullets from automatic rifles.
In a two-page report sent to the Union home ministry, the Jammu and Kashmir government said the bus had a flat tyre at a place called Sangam in Anantnag district while going from Srinagar to Jammu, delaying the entourage by about an hour.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh said he saluted the people of Jammu and Kashmir who had condemned the attack on Amarnath pilgrims and kept the spirit of Kashmiriyat alive.
Rajnath reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and ordered enhanced security for pilgrims visiting the Amarnath shrine.
Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat rushed to Srinagar on Tuesday morning where he held a series of meetings, including with Governor N N Vohra and Mehbooba.
He also chaired a security review meeting in Srinagar which was attended by top Army officials, J&K Director General S P Vaid and Chief Secretary B B Vyas, an Army spokesman said.
TV channels reported that the attack was masterminded by a Pakistan-based LeT commander Abu Ismail. However, there was no independent confirmation of that.
Massive protests rocked Jammu division on Tuesday against the terrorist attack on Amarnath pilgrims with protesters blocking highways at several places in Jammu, Udhampur, Kathua and Samba districts.
The Jammu and Kashmir government and Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) on Tuesday separately announced rewards totalling Rs five lakh for Sheikh Saleem Gafoor, the driver of the bus of Amarnath pilgrims which came under terror attack on Monday night in Anantnag.
The state government also announced ex-gratia compensation of Rs six lakh each to the kin of those killed, Rs two lakh for those seriously injured and Rs one lakh for those with minor injuries, an official spokesman said.
Opposition parties, which met at Parliament Library to decide on their vice presidential candidate, unanimously passed a resolution against Monday's terror strike and asked the government to introspect on its failure to prevent the attack.
Kashmiri civil society groups held a sit-in to protest against the killing of seven Amarnath pilgrims at 5:30 pm at Pratap Park, Lal Chowk, Srinagar on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, thousands of pilgrims continued the Amarnath yatra undeterred amid stepped-up security measures.
Additional police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed en route to the holy cave shrine to prevent a repeat of any such incident.