Non-local LeT ultras behind Reasi bus attack, say official sources

Joint operations are on to track the militants, say police officials

Updated - June 10, 2024 10:32 pm IST

Published - June 10, 2024 10:11 pm IST - SRINAGAR:

Army personnel during a search operation after a bus carrying pilgrims was ambushed by terrorists, in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, on June 10, 2024.

Army personnel during a search operation after a bus carrying pilgrims was ambushed by terrorists, in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, on June 10, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

Multiple operations were launched on June 10 to track at least two to three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants involved in the Katra bus attack, which left nine pilgrims dead and over 33 injured on June 9.  

Official sources said the leads and early inputs analysed by the security agencies point at the involvement of three non-local LeT militants. A fourth accomplice, suspected to be a local, “could have acted as a lookout for the three terrorists”.

“According to the analysis and other clues, we think that Lashkar is involved in this,” said Deputy Inspector General of Police, Udhampur, Reasi Range, Rayees Bhat.

Eleven teams fanned out on June 10 to track the movement of militants and establish more leads by questioning locals in and around the attack spot of the Pouni area of Reasi. 

“Searches have been launched following multiple leads. All the forces are operating jointly. A lot of people have been called for questioning,” Mr. Bhat said.

Teams of the National Investigation Agency, State Investigation Agency and the Forensic department also inspected the spot of the terror attack.

The Army, police and the Central Reserve Police Force are jointly carrying out searches of the Teryath-Poni-Shiv Khori area, which is adjacent to Rajouri district. Drones and sniffer dogs were pressed into service. Village defence committees, which have armed men in them, were also alerted to track the attackers.

Nine pilgrims were killed, and over 33 were injured when militants fired at the driver and the passengers, “which looked indiscriminate”. The bus was carrying pilgrims from Shiv Khori to Katra. 

Four victims were from Rajasthan, and three from Uttar Pradesh. Among the dead included a two-year-old son of victim Pooja Sawhney and 14-year-old Anurag Verma from Uttar Pradesh. At least 10 of the victims sustained bullet wounds. 

Ex gratia announced

The Jammu and Kashmir government has announced an ex gratia of ₹10 lakh for the family members of those killed in the incident and ₹50,000 for the injured.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said those responsible for this “dastardly attack won’t be left unpunished”. “This was a nefarious plan of elements inimical to peace to push Jammu region into turmoil,” he said.

Separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference expressed “grief and anguish at the incident”. “It will always condemn all forms of violence against humanity. The loss of precious human lives to killings is deeply disturbing,” a Hurriyat spokesman said.

Meanwhile, several organisations and locals held protests in Jammu over the incident. Several Muslim organisations in Jammu also condemned the attack. 

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