Violence Erupts in India’s Jammu Region, Leaving 12 Dead

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Indian security personnel examine a bus that plunged into a deep ravine on Sunday following an attack by suspected militants in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, June 10, 2024. (Photo/AP)

The volatile region of Jammu in northern India has been marred by recent violence, resulting in the deaths of at least 12 individuals. The recent struggle underscores the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan, with both nations accusing each other of perpetuating unrest in the disputed territories of Jammu and Kashmir.

In a tragic incident on Sunday, a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims was attacked by suspected militants in India’s Jammu province. The bus was en route to the Mata Vaishno Devi temple, a popular Hindu pilgrimage site, when it came under fire. The attack caused the bus to veer off the road and plummet into a deep gorge near Reasi town. “Militants ambushed the bus and fired at it indiscriminately. The bus fell into a gorge, leading to the death of 9 pilgrims, and 33 are injured,” said Reasi district’s police chief Mohita Sharma. Sharma also stated that the injured were swiftly transported to Narayana Hospital and Reasi District Hospital for treatment.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. However, the incident has intensified the rhetoric between India and Pakistan, with Indian officials pointing fingers at their neighbor for inciting violence in the region. “Our hostile neighbor wants to damage our peaceful environment,” stated Anand Jain, police chief of Jammu. This was in reference to Pakistan, which India has long accused of backing militant groups operating to incite violence in the region, to repeated denial from Islamabad. Additionally, ABC news reported that an Indian police officer unauthorized to speak to the press anonymously said some of the victims had gunshot wounds and “blamed the attack on Muslim militants who are fighting against Indian rule in Kashmir.”

On Tuesday, further violence erupted in the area when two militants were killed during a gunbattle with Indian security forces. The clash also resulted in the death of an Indian paramilitary soldier, while a civilian and six security personnel sustained injuries. 

The ongoing conflict in Jammu and Kashmir has deep historical roots. The region has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan since both countries gained independence from British rule in 1947. The situation in the region has been particularly tense since August 2019, when India revoked the special autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir. This move was met with strong opposition from Pakistan and led to widespread unrest and an increase in militant activities within the region. Human rights organizations have frequently expressed concerns over the heavy military presence and alleged violations in the area.

The recent attack has drawn sharp reactions from political leaders and officials. India’s Opposition Congress party president Mallikarjun Kharge stated that his party “unequivocally condemn[ed]” the “gruesome terror attack” in a post on the social media platform X, criticizing the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government’s claims of having restored order in the region. “All the chest-thumping propaganda of bringing peace and normalcy by the Modi (now NDA) Govt rings hollow,” Kharge stated. This comes after Narendra Modi was sworn in for his historic third term as India’s Prime Minister after his BJP-led NDA (National Democratic Alliance) secured an expected majority in the general election.

Modi’s close ally and Federal Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah took to social media to assure the public that the local administration was providing prompt medical assistance to the injured. “The culprits of this dastardly attack will not be spared and will face the wrath of the law,” Shah posted on X.

India is currently investigating the shooting attack, with authorities focusing on identifying the perpetrators and understanding the broader network that facilitated the assault. Security measures have been intensified in the region to prevent further incidents and to reassure the public of their safety.

Written by Sahasra Yellepeddi

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