Nine killed and 33 injured as terrorists open fire on bus carrying pilgrims in J&K.

The 53-seater bus, traveling from Shiv Khori temple to Katra, veered off the road and fell into a deep gorge after being fired upon. The incident occurred around 6:15 pm near Teryath village in the Poni area.

Nine people were killed and 33 injured when terrorists attacked a bus carrying pilgrims from Uttar Pradesh in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district on Sunday evening (June 9). The gunfire caused the vehicle to fall into a gorge, according to a senior police officer.

The attack occurred on a 53-seater bus en route from Shiv Khori temple to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra, near Teryath village in the Poni area, around 6:15 pm. Following gunfire from terrorists, the bus veered off the road and plunged into a deep gorge.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Reasi, Mohita Sharma, reported that the terrorists had ambushed the bus, causing the driver to lose control. “An unfortunate incident occurred, and as per initial reports, the terrorists had laid an ambush and opened fire on the bus, which had left Shiv Khori for Katra. The driver lost balance, and the vehicle fell into the gorge,” Sharma said.

The rescue operation was completed, with nine fatalities and 33 injuries reported. The injured were transported to various hospitals. While the identities of the deceased are yet to be confirmed, preliminary reports suggest they all hailed from Uttar Pradesh.

Sharma emphasized that the area had been on high alert, with frequent patrols around the Shiv Khori temple and the initiation of firing practice for the Village Defence Guards, who have been put on alert.

This attack signifies a notable escalation in regional violence, as Reasi district had previously experienced less terrorist activity compared to neighboring areas like Rajouri and Poonch.

Locals rushed to assist the victims, and eyewitnesses shared harrowing accounts of the attack. One survivor recounted how the bus was hit with 25 to 30 shots before it fell into the gorge. Another witness described seeing a masked assailant in a red muffler firing at the bus. The injured pilgrims were taken to Teryath Hospital for treatment.

An injured pilgrim from Banaras, receiving treatment at Teryath hospital, recounted, “We were supposed to leave at 4 pm, but the bus departed around 5:30 pm and suddenly came under fire.”According to a statement by a Jammu and Kashmir police spokesperson, a bus carrying yatris from Shiv Khori to Katra was targeted “apparently by terrorists using firearms” around 6:10 pm in the Pouni area of Reasi district, bordering Rajouri district. The driver was hit, leading to the bus losing control and sliding into the nearby gorge.Assisted by local villagers, police successfully evacuated all passengers by 8:10 pm, supervised by SP Reasi. The injured, totaling 33, were referred to various hospitals: 13 in Reasi, five in CHC Treyath, and 15 to GMC in Jammu.A joint security force temporary operation headquarters comprising Police, Army, and CRPF was established at the site, initiating a multidimensional operation to apprehend the attackers. Deputy Commissioner Reasi Vishesh Paul Mahajan also arrived at the scene to coordinate rescue and search efforts.

Security forces from Reasi and neighboring Rajouri district were deployed for a comprehensive search to locate and neutralize the terrorists responsible for the attack, highlighting the persistent threat posed by Pakistan-based terrorist elements aiming to foment unrest and revive militancy in the Jammu region.Meanwhile, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) strongly condemned the terrorist attack, demanding stringent action against terror groups and the complete sanitization of the region to eradicate terrorists.This incident marked the second time in three decades that terrorists targeted a pilgrim bus in Jammu and Kashmir. Previously, in July 2017, a bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims was fired upon by terrorists in Kashmir’s Anantnag district, resulting in the death of seven pilgrims and injuries to 19 others.

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