Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet, which met in Srinagar on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, condemned “unequivocally” terror strike at Amarnath pilgrims in Anantnag and said it was “an attack on Kashmir’s syncretic culture and pluralistic values”.
The Cabinet, however, appreciated the role played by the local residents in reaching out to the victims with all possible support.
It also announced an ex-gratia to the next of kin of those killed and injured in the attack. The next of the kin of the deceased would be given Rs 6 lakh, while grievously injured would get Rs 2 lakh each and the other injured victims Rs 1 lakh each.
The Cabinet also sanctioned cash reward of Rs 3 lakh for Salim Sheikh, the driver of the bus “who exhibited exemplary alertness and courage during the incident”. Sheikh who has since returned to Gujarat said earlier, “God gave me the strength to fight the terrorists”.
Separately, Governor Narendra Nath Vohra, who is also the chairman of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), has announced relief of Rs 5 lakh to the next of the kin of those killed in the incident, Rs 1.5 lakh to those who suffered grievous injuries and Rs 75,000 for the victims who survived with minor injuries. He also announced a special reward of Rs 2 lakh to the driver of the bus “whose alert response saved lives of many pilgrims.
While expressing deep sorrow and anguish over the loss of precious lives, the Cabinet offered its sincere condolences to the bereaved families and prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls.
“The Cabinet wished for the speedy recovery of those injured in the gruesome attack,” an official statement said.
“Taking note of the outrage caused by the dastardly act across the state and the country and widespread and intense expression of concern and regret, the Cabinet observed that such cowardly attacks will only strengthen the resolve of the government and the society to fight violence with renewed commitment and vowed that such acts which strike at the roots of Kashmir's value system and traditional ethos will not be tolerated,” the statement said.
It added that the Cabinet took note of the fact that the people of the State have with one voice condemned the dastardly act. It expressed deep appreciation for the “heroic role” played by the local people of Anantnag, in providing immediate relief and succor to the victims of the attack.
“It also noted with gratitude the help they rendered to the yatris and the administration in managing the situation including the donation of blood”, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Mufti telephoned her counterparts in Maharashtra and Gujarat to convey her deep sympathies. The pilgrims killed or injured in the militant attack belonged to these two states.
“The Chief Minister extended sympathies of the people of the State to their Maharashtrian and Gujarati brethren on this dastardly act. She told Mr Devinder Fadnavis and Mr Vijay Rupani that she and all the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir feel that the said incident is a death blow to the multicultural ethos the State has been known for,” an official spokesman said.
He added that both the chief ministers thanked Mufti for her prompt response in reaching out to the affected pilgrims and supervising their rescue all through the night.
“They also appreciated the efforts being made by the State administration in facilitating the tourists and yatries from their States during this time”, he said adding that both Fadnavis and Rupani had a word of praise for the local people as well who unequivocally condemned the killings....