Srinagar: Monday's horrific attack on Amarnath pilgrims that left seven dead and injured at least a score in south Anantnag was carried out by the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Jammu Kashmir police have said.
The attack was the mastermind of Pakistani terrorist Ismail, Kashmir Inspector General Muneer Khan said Tuesday.
This is the worst attack on the Amarnath Yatra since 2000.
"The bus carrying pilgrims from Gujarat was attacked at around 8.20 pm near Khanabal. The bus was not a part of the official yatra convoy, which was provided with heavy security," police said.
Officials said the militants first attacked a police bunker at Botengo in Anantnag, about 56 km south of Srinagar, at 8.15 pm.
“The fire was retaliated and there was no report of injuries,” they added.
The militants then targeted a police naka party at nearby Khanabal, to which the policemen retaliated and a tourist bus was caught in the crossfire.
As part of the tight security arrangements for this year’s yatra, the authorities had said no vehicle carrying pilgrims would be allowed to move after nightfall. Also, it was said no yatri vehicle would be allowed to cross the Jawahar Tunnle beneath the Pir Panjal range, that connects the state’s Jammu region with the Kashmir Valley, after 3.30 pm.
“This has been done so that the yatris reach the Baltal base camp within seven hours from the tunnel. They don’t have to make a night halt midway,” the officials had said.
While a tight security umbrella was put up for the yatra, the Jammu and Kashmir government made “foolproof arrangements” for the smooth conduct of the event, involving almost all its departments and agencies, the officials added.
They had said in view of the security situation in the Valley, a multi-layered security arrangement manned by the Army, CRPF, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Jammu and Kashmir police was provided for the safe passage of pilgrims right from their entry into the state at Lakhanpur.
The CRPF personnel, apart from performing route duties, were deployed for area-domination during the pilgrimage, the officials said.