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Terror in Jammu, Anantnag
One killed, 31 hurt in bus stand blasts
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, June 12
One person was killed and 31 were wounded when terrorists hurled three grenades on Vaishnodevi shrine-bound buses at the general bus stand here this morning.

The deceased was later identified as Madan Lal, conductor of a bus (JK02F 3479). Among the injured were two Amarnath pilgrims from Ahmedabad and Bihar.

The incident exposed the poor security arrangements in the town as the general bus stand, being the hub for Vaishno Devi and Amarnath pilgrimages, was supposed to be among the highly guarded places.

Terrorists hurled three grenades in succession and escaped after the incident. At least six buses were damaged in the attack.

The condition of three injured persons is said to be serious.

The two Amarnath pilgrims who were injured in the incident have been identified as Rekha Patel from Ahmedabad and Babli Paswan from Bihar. Rekha Patel was on her way to Pahalgam with a group of around 15 pilgrims from Gujarat.

Another pilgrim Kailash Patel said the explosion occurred while the group was boarding a bus for Srinagar.

The attack has exposed chinks in the security of the pilgrims undertaking Amarnath Yatra as the Maulana Azad Stadium, the starting point for the pilgrimage, is located just a few meters away from the bus stand.

The police had so far been claiming to have provided three-tier security for the pilgrims.

Personnel of the CRPF have been deployed in the bus stand area after the incident.

Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad flew here from Srinagar to enquire about the condition of the injured admitted to the medical college hospital here.

The Minister for Roads and Buildings, Mr Gulchain Singh Charak, visited the bus stand and the hospital and asked the security forces to be more vigilant.

Meanwhile, more than 600 pilgrims got stranded on their way to Amarnath cave due to heavy snowfall in the area. The pilgrimage has been suspended. It will resume only when the weather improved.

Governor S.K. Sinha flew to Baltal this morning to have firsthand information about the stranded pilgrims on the 13-km stretch to the Amarnath shrine. Because of bad weather, he could not fly to the shrine.

Around 2,000 pilgrims had been stranded at the mountainous shrine since yesterday. Around 1,400 of them were rescued to the base camp at Baltal by the security forces today.

The heavy snowfall since yesterday has resulted in the suspension of the pilgrimage from both routes, Pahalgam and Baltal.

A 38-year-old woman pilgrim reportedly died due to cardiac arrest at Baltal last night.



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