10 June 2024

At least nine dead after suspected militants fire at Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir

10 June 2024

At least nine people have died after suspected militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir’s Jammu province opened fire at a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims which fell into a deep gorge, officials said.

The vehicle was carrying pilgrims to the base camp of the famed Hindu temple Mata Vaishno Devi when it came under attack in the region’s Reasi district, senior administrative officer Vishesh Mahajan said.

A police officer said some of the victims had gunshot wounds and blamed the attack on Muslim militants who are fighting against Indian rule in Kashmir.

No-one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which also left 33 others injured.

Rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir’s independence or a merger with neighbouring Pakistan.

Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel goal of uniting the territory, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

New Delhi insists the Kashmir militancy is Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Pakistan denies the charge, and most Kashmiris consider it a legitimate freedom struggle.

Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict.

Nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim the territory in its entirety.

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