Look back: Terror attacks on Amarnath Yatris
The Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday asked Amarnath Yatris and tourists to shorten their stay and return as soon as possible in the wake of intelligence inputs of "specific threats" to the pilgrimage.
The security advisory issued by the J&K Home Department said that the Amarnath pilgrims and the tourists "may curtail their stay in the Valley immediately."
"Keeping in view the latest intelligence inputs of terror threats with specific targeting of the Amarnath Yatra, and given the prevailing security situation in the Kashmir Valley, in the interest of safety and security of the tourists and Amarnath Yatris, it is advised that they may curtail their stay in the Valley immediately and take necessary measures to return as soon as possible," said the advisory issued by Shaleen Kabra, Principal Secretary, Home Department.
The advisory came minutes after top Army and police officers spoke about intelligence that militants in Kashmir had been ordered to carry out bomb blasts targeting Amarnath Yatris.
A landmine with Pakistan ordnance factory markings and an M-24 American sniper rifle with a telescope had been found along the route of the annual pilgrimage to the Hindu cave shrine around 140 km from Srinagar.
"In the last three-four days, there were confirmed intelligence reports that terrorists backed by Pakistan and its Army are trying to disrupt the Amarnath Yatra and based on that, a thorough search was conducted. We had major successes in these searches," Srinagar-based commander of 15-Corps Lt General KJS Dhillon told reporters.
This is not the first time that terror outfits have targeted the Amarnath Yatra. Here are several previous instances when the safety of pilgrims has come under threat:
2000 mass shooting
LeT terrorists killed at least 32 people and injured around 60 in Pahalgam, the base camp for Amarnath Yatris in a mass shooting. Among the victims were 21 Hindu pilgrims, seven Muslim shopkeepers and porters and three security officials. Many of those killed were local Bakarwal gurjar Muslim men and porters hiring horses and services to ferry pilgrims to the Amarnath shrine. Subsequently, then India Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Pahalgam and blamed the Lashkar-e-Taiba for the deaths.
On July 20, 2001, in the month of Shraavana, 13 people were killed and 15 others injured in two explosions and firing by militants on a pilgrim night camp at Sheshnag Lake near the Amarnath Temple shrine. In the pre-dawn attack, terrorists penetrated layers of security and exploded two Improvised Explosive Devices. The casualties included eight Hindu pilgrims, three Muslim civilians and two security personnel.
2002 Lashkar attack
On July 30 and Aug. 6, 2002, 11 people were killed and 30 injured in attacks by the Lashkar-e-Taiba's front group of al-Mansuriyan . It was the third consecutive year when the yatra was attacked. Two pilgrims were killed and three injured on July 30 when terrorists threw grenades at a civilian taxi of pilgrims in Srinagar. Further, nine people were killed and 27 injured on Aug. 6 by a hail of bullets from Lashkar-e-Taiba militants at the Nunwan base camp at Pahalgam.
2006 bus attack
Five pilgrims from Rajasthan were injured when militants hurled a grenade at their bus at Beehama in Ganderbal, 23 kilometres from Srinagar. No militant outfit claimed responsibility for the attack.
2017 terror attack
On July 10, 2017, eight Hindu pilgrims on the way from Amarnath Temple were killed in an attack. The pilgrims mostly belonged to the Indian state of Gujarat. Seven were killed and at least 18 were injured in the attack. Munir Khan, the then Inspector General of Kashmir said that four Lashkar-e-Taiba militants were involved in the attack.