Tragedy hits Amarnath Yatra again; 16 killed, 19 injured after bus carrying pilgrims falls into gorge

Tragedy hit the Amarnath Yatra once again on Sunday as 16 pilgrims were killed and 19 were injured when a vehicle carrying them fell into a gorge on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in Ramban district. The death toll was reported to be 11 and the number of the injured was put at 35 in earlier reports.

The bus carrying pilgrims skidded off the road, turned turtle and rolled down into the nullah at Nachlana belt of Ramban late this afternoon, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ramban, Mohan Lal said.

ANI reports that an army rescue operation is underway.

The accident comes just days after militants attacked a bus ferrying yatris in Anantnag along the Jammu-Srinagar Highway on Monday. That attack had led to eight deaths and 11 being injured. According to police officials, Monday's incident occurred when militants attacked an armoured police car at 8.20 pm. When the police fired back, the militants fled, firing indiscriminately, the official added. The injured were taken to the Army Base Hospital in Srinagar.

 Tragedy hits Amarnath Yatra again; 16 killed, 19 injured after bus carrying pilgrims falls into gorge

Representational image. PTI

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the attack arrested a local policeman on suspicion of aiding terrorists strike the bus.

The police claimed that this was a major breakthrough in cracking the attack on the yatra bus and they are also questioning a ruling PDP legislator in connection with the case.

A fresh batch of 3,603 pilgrims left Jammu for the Kashmir Valley on Sunday, to perform the annual Amarnath Yatra.

Over 35,000 security personnel drawn from the army, Central Reserve Police Force, Sashastra Seema Bal, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the state police have been deployed to provide additional security to the pilgrims in the wake of Monday's incident.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Jul 16, 2017 16:27:29 IST