Sunday, 23 June 2024

Terrorists kept firing for over 20 minutes after bus fell, recall Reasi attack survivors

IANS | Updated on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 17:02 PM IST

JAMMU: Survivors of the June 9 terrorist attack on pilgrims in J&K's Reasi district have said that the attackers kept on firing at the fallen bus for almost 20 minutes.

They said that after the driver was hit in the firing, the bus plunged into a deep gorge in the Poni area of the district and the terrorists kept shooting indiscriminately.

Five of the deceased had gunshot wounds. And, out of the 41 injured, 10 suffered gunshot injuries.

Bhawani Shankar of Tughlakabad extension in Delhi had gone to pay obeisance at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine on his marriage anniversary. He was accompanied by his wife, Radha Devi and two children, 5-year-old Deksha and 2-year-old Raghav.

“Even after the bus crashed into the gorge, the terrorists kept firing at the bus. I managed to push my children under the seats of the bus despite being injured myself.

“It was a horror I will never forget in my life,” Shankar said lying in the super speciality government medical college hospital where he is being treated for injuries.

Not all pilgrims on the bus were lucky to survive the terrorist firing.

Four members of a family from Rajasthan’s Jaipur, including a 2-year-old boy, and two cousins from Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur district were among those killed in the terror attack on the bus.

The members of the family from Chomu near Jaipur who died were identified as 30-year-old Pooja Saini, her 2-year-old son Levansh, Pooja’s paternal uncle 44-year-old Rajendra Saini and 40-year-old wife of Rajendra’s wife Mamta.

Santosh Kumar Verma of Balrampur district of Uttar Pradesh recalled what he saw. “I first saw the militants blocking the road of the bus and then I saw the driver’s head falling on the steering wheel. And, then the bus fell into the gorge,” he said.

Survivors said that they pretended to be dead inside the bus till the terrorists thought their job was over and left the place.

Rajat Ram Sharma lost his 14-year-old son in this attack.

“Suddenly, someone cried that militants had attacked the bus. I immediately pushed my wife and son under the seat, but before we could take the cover, the bus fell into the gorge and I lost my grip on my son,” he said.

Two-year-old Titu Sawhney and his mother Pooja, the bus driver and conductor, are among the deceased.

J&K Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha met the injured at Narayana Hospital in Katra town and the government medical college hospital in Jammu city. The administration has given Rs 10 lakh ex gratia relief to the next of kin of those killed in this incident and Rs 50,000 each to the injured survivors.

Security forces have formed 15 teams to hunt down the perpetrators of this terror attack. Some arrests have already been made and the arrested persons are being questioned.

The Resistance Front (TRF) -- a social media front of various terrorist outfits, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohamamd (JeM) -- has owned responsibility for the attack.

The killings of innocent pilgrims have been widely condemned in the union territory.

 

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