By Abheet Singh Sethi
The killing of seven Hindu pilgrims in southern Kashmir enroute from the holy cave of Amarnath is the latest bloody statistic in Jammu and Kashmir, which has witnessed a 45 percent rise in terrorism-related deaths — and 164 percent increase in civilian deaths alone — over the year ending 30 June, 2017 according to an IndiaSpend analysis of data from the South Asian Terrorism Portal, run by the New Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management, a nonprofit.
Unidentified terrorists reportedly opened fire on a police vehicle at around 8 pm on 10 July. When police retaliated, the terrorists fired indiscriminately, and a bus full of pilgrims returning from Amarnath was caught in the crossfire, according to the police. Others said there was no crossfire and the pilgrims were targets, with later reports saying the bus was attacked twice in three minutes.
The Kashmir Police blamed the Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT), a terror group, for the attack, alleging it was masterminded by Pakistani terrorist Abu Ismail. LeT spokesperson Abdullah Ghaznavi, however, denied the charges and blamed “Indian agencies” for the “highly reprehensible act”, the deadliest on Amarnath pilgrims in 15 years.
Pained beyond words on the dastardly attack on peaceful Amarnath Yatris in J&K. The attack deserves strongest condemnation from everyone.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 10, 2017
Kashmiris, including separatists, were quick to condemn the attack.
#Hurriyat activists join HR groups civil society members & students to condemn killings ofYatris & express solidarity withBereaved families pic.twitter.com/a5zPE2cdjg — Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (@MirwaizKashmir) July 11, 2017
Widespread criticism of the terrorists in Kashmir drew a reaction from India’s home minister, Rajnath Singh.
The people of Kashmir have strongly condemned the terror attack on Amarnath yatris. It shows the spirit of Kashmiriyat is very much alive.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) July 11, 2017
Over 18 years, 52 pilgrims killed in five attacks Over the past 18 years, at least 52 Amarnath pilgrims have been killed in five terrorist attacks.The deadliest attack was mounted by LeT terrorists on 1 August, 2000. That attack left 21 pilgrims dead in Pahalgam.
Source: News Reports
The latest attack comes hours after a curfew and social-media ban was lifted in the Kashmir Valley after restrictions were imposed in anticipation of a possible attack to mark the death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani. Wani was gunned down by security forces a little over a year ago on 8 July, 2016. What followed were violent protests, several months of curfew and an overall deterioration in Jammu and Kashmir’s security situation.
Death toll of security forces, civilians up in 1 year
The number of security personnel killed in terrorist violence has nearly doubled from 51 in the year preceding Wani’s death to 98 in the following year, according to an analysis of data compiled by SATP. The SATP compiles data on fatalities due to terrorism from media reports. The data are provisional and compiled as on July 10, 2017. On 8 July, 2017, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa paid tributes to Wani on his first death anniversary. Sharif said Wani’s death “infused a new spirit in the struggle for freedom” in the Kashmir Valley.
Source:South Asia Terrorism Portal
The 45 percent increase in deaths of civilians, security personnel and terrorists from 216 in 2015-16 to 313 in 2016-17 is the highest year-on-year percentage increase over the past five years.
Civilian deaths have increased 164 percent, as we said, from 14 in 2015-16 to 37 in 2016-17 while terrorist deaths have risen 18 percent during this period to 178 in 2016-17.
There has been a 42 percent increase in terrorism-related deaths in Jammu and Kashmir since the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party government (BJP) came to power in May 2014, compared with the last three years of the second term of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA-II), IndiaSpend reported on 27 May, 2017.
India has had successes against terrorism – both on the security and diplomatic front.
On 27 May, 2017, Wani’s successor Sabzar Bhat was killed in an anti-terrorist operation by security forces.
On 27 June, 2017, United States designated Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin a “global terrorist,” ahead of Modi’s meeting with American President Donald Trump in Washington, DC.
Salahuddin also leads the United Jihad Council, an umbrella organisation for anti-India terrorist organisations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, known to operate out of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
Salahuddin has openly admitted to carrying out attacks against India, including on an Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, Punjab, on 2 January, 2016.
Indiaspend.org is a data-driven, public-interest journalism non-profit/FactChecker.in is fact-checking initiative, scrutinising for veracity and context statements made by individuals and organisations in public life.
Updated Date: Jul 12, 2017 10:31 AM