India investigates attack by suspected militants in Kashmir that killed 9 on Hindu pilgrimage

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Security men inspect a bus that fell into a deep gorge on Sunday after it was fired at by suspected militants in Reasi district, Jammu and Kashmir, Monday, June 10. (AP )

NEW DELHI, June 10, (AP): India is investigating an attack in which suspected militants fired at a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims in Indian-controlled Kashmir, killing nine and injuring 33, officials said Monday.

The attack caused the vehicle to fall into a deep gorge Sunday in Jammu province’s Reasi district. The bus was carrying pilgrims to the base camp of the famed Hindu temple Mata Vaishno Devi.

A team from the National Investigation Agency has reached the site of the attack, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. Security forces also were trying to track down those suspected to be responsible.

Jammu and Kashmir Lt. Gov. Manoj Sinha announced compensation of $11,975 each for families of those killed, as well as nearly $600 to those who were injured.

Federal minister Amit Shah said Sunday he was in touch with Sinha and the local administration was providing speedy medical attention. “The culprits of this dastardly attack will not be spared and will face the wrath of the law,” he posted on social media platform X.

A police officer said some of the victims had gunshot wounds and blamed the attack on Muslim militants who are fighting Indian rule in Kashmir. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which left 33 others injured.

Rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir’s independence or merger with neighboring Pakistan. Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel goal of uniting the territory, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

New Delhi insists the Kashmir militancy is Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Pakistan denies the charge, and most Kashmiris consider it a legitimate freedom struggle.

Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict.

Nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim the territory in its entirety.

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