At least 16 Amarnath pilgrims were killed and about 30 injured when a bus skidded off the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and rolled down into a deep nullah in the Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir today, officials said, Agencies report.
The bus carrying pilgrims skidded off the road, overturned and rolled down into the nullah at Nachlana belt of Ramban late this afternoon, Ramban senior superintendent of police (SSP) Mohan Lal said.
A rescue operation was underway. “16 people are now confirmed dead, 19 with serious injuries and eight others with minor injuries,” Jammu and Kashmir police said in a statement Sunday.
Some of the worst injured are being airlifted to hospital, while others were taken to local clinics for treatment, police said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of pilgrims.
Home minister Rajnath Singh also expressed grief at the loss of lives. The tragedy came as another pilgrim died on Sunday from injuries sustained six days ago when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a bus full of worshippers.
“One lady who was injured in the July 10 attack succumbed to her injuries in hospital,” Shesh Paul Vaid, the state’s director general of police, said. Her death takes the toll from Monday’s attack to eight, with seven women and one man killed in the late-night assault.
Tens of thousands of Hindus from all over India travel to Kashmir every year to visit a phallus-shaped ice formation in the Amarnath caves that is worshipped as a symbol of Shiva, the god of destruction.