The Jammu and Kashmir Police has constituted a special investigation team to enquire into the attack on Amarnath pilgrims in Anantnag that led to the death of seven yatris besides injury of dozens others. Inspector general of J&K Police (Kashmir Zone), Muneer Ahmad Khan told the media that a six-member SIT headed by DIG South Kashmir S.P. Pani would look into this probe. The other members include SSP Anantnag, Altaf Ahmad Khan, and some senior police officials. Muneer Khan said that the SIT has been asked to complete the investigation as soon as possible.
There is a general belief in the security establishment that the attack on the Amarnath yatris on Monday evening happened due to a lapse in security. Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh has said that they will probe and fix the responsibility. But BJP general secretary in-charge of J&K, Ram Madhav is of the view that it was a part of the proxy war on India.
Many police officers in the state said that a discreet probe was being conducted to fix the responsibility for the attack and they admit that there has been a security lapse. The attack was conducted even after a security vehicle was going on behind the bus and it also received some bullets. “We have arrested many residents of Boitengo village to look into all the aspects of the attack. We are trying to know what happened exactly on the ground,” a senior police officer told this reporter.
“It is a clear security lapse case as the attackers were able to carry out the attack twice at a place where there is the Army’s sector headquarters,” said one of the human rights activists in Srinagar who participated in the protest demonstration organised by the J&K civil society, traders, and journalists.
The Union home ministry was monitoring the yatra’s security arrangements directly and had inducted an additional 24,000 paramilitary forces all along the route after SSP Anantnag wrote to IGP Kashmir about a possible attack by the militants. For the first time, the Union government installed satellites, drones and other hi-tech equipment to oversee the safety of the yatra.
Earlier, in one of the high level meetings in New Delhi, national security advisor Ajit Doval had decided not to suspend the yatra based on the feedback of intelligence agencies. But the security was beefed-up, especially in South Kashmir.
The bus carrying the yatris was allowed to proceed from the Baltal base camp of Sonamarg towards Jammu and the bus was not stopped at about a dozen security posts where it ought to have been stopped as it was not a part of the yatra convey that is always escorted by the security forces, and it was travelling post 7pm on the highway in violation of the security directives.