Indian security force personnel stand at the site of a gunbattle between Indian police and militants on Monday in which seven Hindu pilgrims were killed, in south Kashmir's Anantnag district July 11, 2017.
Located at an altitude of 3,888 meters (12,756 feet) and surrounded by snowy mountain peaks, the annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine kicked off on June 29 and will culminate on August 7.
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 Hindu god of destruction. The white-coloured bus (GJ09Z9979) with Amarnath pilgrims was travelling from Srinagar to Jammu. "In the firing by militants, seven people, five of them women, were killed, and another seven injured", the official said. Home Minister Rajnath Singh also assured Mufti and Governor NN Vohra of total assistance from the Centre. While visiting the injured in a hospital in Anantnag, she said efforts will be aimed at ensuring that quick action is taken against the culprits and justice is done. After the terrorists, allegedly of Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, attacked a police vehicle and shot at a check-post, they shot at the bus that passed their way. The Jammu bandh call was supported by the opposition National Conference, which called the attack part of a nefarious design to vitiate the secular fabric of Jammu and Kashmir.
While a tight security umbrella was put up for the yatra, the Jammu and Kashmir government made "foolproof arrangements" for the smooth conduct of the event, involving nearly all its departments and agencies, the officials added.