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Which militant outfit behind Reasi Vaishno Devi bus terrorist attack?

A terror attack on a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district leaves nine dead and 33 injured. Pakistan-backed The Resistance Front (TRF) has claimed responsibility for the attack

By Ground report
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Which militant outfit behind Reasi Vaishno Devi bus terrorist attack?

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Nine people were killed and 33 injured after a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district tumbled into a ravine following a suspected shooting attack by militants, police said on Sunday. Pakistan-backed The Resistance Front (TRF) has claimed responsibility for the attack.  India designated The Resistance Front as a terrorist organisation in 2023.

The incident occurred near Reasi town, in the southern part of the disputed territory, as the bus was returning from a popular Hindu shrine. According to Reasi district's police chief Mohita Sharma, militants ambushed the bus and fired indiscriminately. This caused the driver to lose control and the vehicle to plunge into a gorge.

"Militants ambushed and fired at the bus indiscriminately. It fell into a gorge, killing nine pilgrims and injuring 33," Sharma told reporters.

The rescue operation ended, and the injured were taken to nearby hospitals. The bus carrying pilgrims to the base camp of the Hindu temple Mata Vaishno Devi came under attack, said senior administrative officer Vishesh Mahajan.

Two terrorists involved in attack

On Monday, Jammu and Kashmir police said at least two 'terrorists' were involved in the attack on the bus carrying Hindu pilgrims.

According to eyewitnesses, two terrorists are present. A combing operation is underway in the area. Five teams are searching the area," said Reasi Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mohita Sharma.

Sharma said the militants fired at the bus on Sunday at 6:10 pm. This caused the driver to lose control and the vehicle to plunge into a ditch.

"Nine people are reportedly dead and 33 injured and being treated in different hospitals," she said.

The SSP added that five teams will search the dense forest around the incident spot. The Reasi SSP Mohita Sharma called the incident a "clear terror attack" and said a rescue operation was launched immediately. The injured pilgrims were taken to nearby hospitals.

Former Sarpanch Bhushan Uppal claimed the firing lasted 15-20 minutes and the driver was shot in the head.

"We rushed to rescue the people travelling in the bus targeted by terrorists. The injured passengers told us that one of the terrorists shot the driver in the head, causing the vehicle to crash. The terrorists continued firing for 15 to 20 minutes, injuring some passengers."

The Indian Army and State Disaster Response Force, along with drones, are searching the forest area. The last major attack on Hindu pilgrims in the region occurred in 2017. A bus was targeted, killing eight people.

Condemnation and Compensation

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has announced ₹10 lakh ex-gratia for the next of kin of those killed, and ₹50,000 for the injured in the terror attack.

President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, among others, have condemned the "dastardly attack" and condoled the loss of lives.

President Murmu called the act a "crime against humanity," and said, "The nation stands with the victims' families. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured."

Prime Minister Modi directed the Lieutenant Governor to monitor the situation and ensure assistance to the affected families. He also said that security forces launched a joint operation to hunt down the terrorists and punish those behind the attack soon.

Home Minister Amit Shah, who recently took oath as a union minister, condemned the attack and said that those involved will face the wrath of the law."

First-time BJP MP Kangana Ranaut also condemned the terrorist attack. She said, "I strongly condemn the cowardly terrorist attack on the pilgrims in Reasi, Jammu and Kashmir. I pray for the departed and hope for the swift recovery of the injured."

J&K BJP President Ravinder Raina said, "Cowardly Pakistani terrorists cannot face the Indian Army, Jammu and Kashmir Police and our paramilitary forces... The terrorists who have carried out this audacity will have to pay a heavy price for their crime," commenting on the attack.

A joint security force of the police, army, and CRPF has set up a temporary operation headquarters at the site and launched a multidimensional operation to target the attackers.

Locals rushed to the spot and assisted the victims. Eyewitnesses shared harrowing accounts of the attack, with one survivor describing how the bus was barraged with 25 to 30 shots before it plunged down the gorge.

Several groups in the Jammu division, including Reasi, were against the terror attack and demanded stern action against the terrorists.

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