Nefarious design to spread turmoil in Jammu region: LG Sinha on Reasi attack

JAMMU — Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said Monday the militant attack on a bus carrying pilgrims in Reasi district was part of nefarious designs to spread turmoil in the Jammu region, and asserted that such an attempt would be thwarted.

Nine people were killed and 41 injured as militants opened fire at the 53-seater bus, on its way from the Shiv Khori temple to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra, causing it to veer off the road and fall into a deep gorge near the Teryath village of the Poni area on Sunday.

“An unfortunate incident happened yesterday evening when militants targeted the driver of a bus as a result of which he lost control and the vehicle plunged into a gorge, resulting in the death of nine people. A joint operation by police, CRPF and the Army is underway to punish those responsible,” Sinha told reporters at the Government Medical College here after meeting with 18 of those injured admitted to the facility.

He said Director General of Police R R Swain and his team are on the spot, supervising the anti-militancy operation.

“Our immediate priority is saving the lives of those injured. We know there is no compensation for the loss of life but to help the families, the administration has approved an ex gratia of Rs 10 lakh each for the next of kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 each for the injured,” Sinha said.

The lieutenant governor said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Amit Shah were keeping a close watch on the situation and spoke to him immediately after the attack.

“Those responsible will not be spared. The attack is part of a nefarious design to somehow spread turmoil to the Jammu region but we are determined to thwart such an attempt,” Sinha said.

The lieutenant governor also visited the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital in the Katra area of Reasi to enquire after 14 injured passengers admitted there.

“Met the injured pilgrims at Government Medical College, Jammu & Narayana Hospital, Katra and wished them a speedy recovery. The entire nation stands firmly with the families of martyred pilgrims in this hour of grief,” Saxena wrote on ‘X’.

An official spokesperson said Sinha was closely monitoring the situation and has directed the district and hospital administration to ensure the best possible medical care and all necessary assistance to the affected families.

The bus was ferrying pilgrims from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi. — (PTI)