NEW DELHI, July 11, (Agencies): Seven Hindu pilgrims, most of them women, were killed in a gunbattle that erupted in Indian Kashmir on Monday following two militant attacks on police, stoking outrage and protests nationwide.
The pilgrims were on their way back from the Amarnath shrine deep in the Himalayas when their bus got caught up in the crossfire near the town of Anantnag, police said.
Twelve pilgrims were wounded in the fighting triggered after the militants attacked a police bunker and another police party at a checkpoint. The attack has stirred the ire of hardline Hindu groups tied to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party who have long sought tough action against militants fighting Indian rule in Muslim-majority Kashmir.
In the Hindu-dominated Jammu region of the Indian state, saffron-clad members of the right-wing Bajrang Dal group stopped cars to enforce a strike in memory of the pilgrims.