SFs launch search operation after terrorist attack on bus in Reasi


JAMMU, Jun 10: Security Forces on Monday morning launched a massive search operation following a terrorists attack on a bus carrying pilgrims in Reasi district.
Ten pilgrims were killed and 33 injured when a bus on its way from Shiv Khori shrine towards Katra was attacked by terrorists and it plunged into a gorge at Kanda Morh near Ransoo on Monday evening.
"A joint team of Indian Army, Police and Special Operation Group with the first light launched a search operation near the site of incident and the adjoining areas to track down the terrorists," official sources said.
They said that drones are also being used to locate the hidden terrorists in the forest area.
The bus was ferrying the pilgrims, who were from outside the Jammu and Kashmir and returning to Katra town after paying obeisance at the Shiv Khori shrine. The driver lost its control on the vehicle due to attack and it fell into a gorge.
The injured are being treated at different nearby hospitals and some are rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital Jammu.
A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrived in Reasi, Jammu and Kashmir, on Monday to support local police and evaluate the current ground situation following the terror attack, according to sources.
The sources said that the NIA's forensic team is also present on-site and is working on collecting evidence.
The NIA, India's premier counter-terrorism agency, often collaborates with state police to address high-profile and sensitive cases as part of its routine affair in terror attack cases, the sources added.
The NIA's move follows the terror attack on a bus carrying pilgrims that has raised security concerns. The central agency's involvement is expected to enhance the investigation and ensure a thorough examination of the evidence.
According to officials, the bus, coming from Shiv Khori shrine to Katra, was targeted by terrorists at around 6.10 pm when it reached the Pouni area of Reasi district, bordering Rajouri district. "Terrorists opened fire, causing the driver to lose control and the bus to plunge into a gorge killing at least nine persons and injuring 33 others," they said.
The rescue operation was completed at the earliest and the injured were shifted to nearby hospitals, the officials added.
Three shadow groups associated with the banned terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed initially claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack on pilgrims in Jammu.
However, following widespread condemnation and outrage over the deaths of nine individuals, including a two-year-old, in the assault, the groups quickly retracted their statements.
The People's Anti-Facist Force (PAFF), Revival of Resistance (both linked to Jaish), and The Resistance Front (affiliated with Lashkar-e-Taiba) initially took to social media to assert their involvement in the attack on the bus travelling from Shiv Khori to Katra in Reasi, officials said.
The assailants opened fire on the bus, causing it to plunge into a gorge near Teryath village in the Poni area, resulting in nine fatalities and 41 injuries.
While five victims succumbed to bullet wounds, ten others are currently receiving treatment in hospitals across the Jammu region.
As images of the innocent two-year-old victim identified as Titu circulated online prompting widespread condemnation, the shadow groups swiftly retracted their claims and instead attempted to shift blame onto government agencies, according to a senior official.
The incident has reignited concerns over terrorism and the safety of civilians in the region, highlighting the urgent need for enhanced security measures and vigilance to prevent such heinous acts in the future, the official said.

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