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Lashkar-Linked Group Claims Responsibility for J&K Bus Terror Attack

Pakistan-backed The Resistance Front (TRF) has claimed responsibility for a terror attack on a bus carrying pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district on Sunday, resulting in the deaths of nine people and injuries to 33 others.

In a message, TRF warned of more such attacks on “tourists and non-locals,” calling the Reasi attack merely the “beginning of a renewed start.” A massive search operation has been launched to trace the terrorists, with security in the area significantly heightened.

Home Ministry sources informed India Today that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been tasked with probing the attack. The incident occurred as the bus was returning from the Shiv Khori shrine en route to Katra, the base camp of the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.

Terrorists hiding in a nearby forest ambushed the vehicle, opening fire. The bus driver was struck by a bullet, causing him to lose control, resulting in the bus rolling down a gorge. Both the bus and its conductor were killed in the attack.

The TRF, designated a terrorist organization by India in 2023, was founded in 2019 following the abrogation of Article 370, which had granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and has since been involved in numerous terror attacks.Sources revealed that two to three terrorists were involved in the Reasi bus attack, part of the same group responsible for recent attacks in Rajouri and Poonch.

The terrorists, reportedly Pakistani nationals who have been active in the south of the Pir Panjal region for two years, were hiding in dense vegetation and have since fled Reasi. As part of the ongoing search operation, drones are being deployed to scan the area, and a Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) team has joined the efforts.

Authorities have identified some of the victims, with most hailing from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The deceased bus driver and conductor were both from Reasi, while the injured included individuals from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Rajasthan.

Survivors recounted that the terrorists continued firing at the bus even after it fell into a gorge, with one survivor noting that the attackers descended into the gorge and kept shooting, forcing the passengers to play dead.Police, aided by local villagers, evacuated the passengers by 8:10 PM. The Reasi Superintendent of Police supervised the evacuation and facilitated the transfer of the injured to various hospitals.

A joint operation headquarters comprising the police, Indian Army, and CRPF was established at the site to coordinate the manhunt for the attackers. Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha announced financial aid of Rs 10 lakh for the families of the victims and Rs 50,000 for the injured. A control room has been set up by the district administration to provide necessary assistance, and a temporary joint security force headquarters has been established to neutralize the perpetrators.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the situation and directed that the injured receive the best possible medical care. Various political leaders, including National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, Union Minister Amit Shah, President Droupadi Murmu, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, condemned the terror attack.

Author:- Apoorva Arora

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