Reasi terror attack: 9 pilgrims killed, LG Manoj Sinha announces ₹10 lakh ex-gratia

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Reasi terror attack: 9 pilgrims killed, LG Manoj Sinha announces ₹10 lakh ex-gratia

Following an attack by terrorists on a bus carrying pilgrims from the Shiv Khori cave temple to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra, Jammu, at least nine pilgrims—including a child—were slain and 33 others were injured. The 53-seater bus was ambushed by terrorists in Reasi on Sunday at around 6:15 p.m., when it veered off the route and fell into a steep canyon.

"A Yatri bus traveling from the Ransoo neighborhood of the Reasi district was ambushed by a gang of terrorists. The bus plunged into a deep gorge close to Pouni's Kanda region after the driver lost control of the vehicle as a result of the attack. Nine individuals lost their lives and thirty-three more were hurt in the disaster," according to Reasi SSP Mohita Sharma.

Here are the latest updates on the attack:

An ex-gratia of ₹10 lakh for each of the deceased and ₹50,000 for each of the injured in the terror attack has been issued by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.

The Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, and the former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, and Ghulam Nabi Azad, denounced the heinous act and expressed their condolences for the lives lost.

President Murmu termed the act a crime against humanity. "I am anguished by the terrorist attack on a bus carrying pilgrims in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir. This dastardly act is a crime against humanity, and must be condemned in the strongest words. The nation stands with the families of the victims. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured."

In addition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assessed the aftermath of the terror attack and instructed LG Sinha to keep a close eye on matters and make sure the impacted families receive all assistance available. "The Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi took stock of the situation and directed me to constantly monitor the situation and to ensure all possible assistance to the families," Sinha wrote in a post to X. The LG added that those responsible for the attack will soon face consequences since security personnel have joined forces to hunt out the perpetrators.

Not long after taking the oath of office as a union minister, Amit Shah denounced the attack and declared that those responsible for the heinous act of terror would not escape punishment and would have to face the full force of the law. Shah added that in order to assess the situation, he had spoken with DGP R R Swain and LG Sinha.

Reasi SSP Sharma described the incident as a "clear case of terror attack" and stated that the injured pilgrims were sent to the local hospitals after a swift rescue effort was initiated. The SSP went on to say that although the identities of the deceased and injured have not yet been determined, they most likely came from Uttar Pradesh.

Among those who raced to the scene to help the victims were the locals. Witnesses gave terrifying details of the assault; one survivor said the bus was hit by 25 to 30 gunshots before it fell into the gorge. Another witness remembered seeing someone firing on the bus while wearing a red muffler and mask.

The official went on to say that they regularly maintain a high state of awareness and have completely secured the Shiv Khori temple, conducting frequent area domination patrols in the nearby districts. "We have also started firing practice for the Village Defence Guards and they all have been put on alert," said the SSP.