Srinagar: Seven Amarnath pilgrims were killed and eleven injured, four of them critically, on Monday evening after a suspected militant attack on the government forces in Batengoo, a village between Khanbal and Bejbehara, an area of Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir.
According to a report in Greater Kashmir, militants opened fire on the forces on Srinagar-Jammu highway in Batengoo at two places.
A report in Kashmir Life said that “officials drove two injured persons, both yatris to district hospital Anantnag. They were given first aid and rushed to Srinagar”.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Muneer Khan said the attack was ‘aimed at forces, not on yatris.’
The Amarnath pilgrimage came under attack on August 1, 2000, when militants massacred 30 people in Pahalgam. The victims were pilgrims and local porters.
Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani has condemned the attack, saying that the attack was ‘a terrorist act’.
The government has deployed more than 40,000 troops to protect the twin routes of the 40-day pilgrimage to the Himalayan shrine in south Kashmir.
Surveillance cameras, jammers, dog squads, bullet-proof bunkers, satellite tracking devices and other security gadgets are being used to maintain vigil in view of increased militancy-linked incidents and violence in Kashmir.
The base camps in Pahalgam and Baltal are in Anantnag and Ganderbal districts. Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of Lidder Valley, Amarnath shrine stands at 3,888 metres, 46km from Pahalgam and 14km from Baltal.