At least 10 dead after militants shoot at bus in Indian-controlled Kashmir

At least 10 dead after militants shoot at bus in Indian-controlled Kashmir

Suspected militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir's Jammu province fired at a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims on Sunday, causing at least 10 to die after the vehicle fell into a deep gorge, officials said.

The bus was carrying pilgrims to the base camp of the famed Hindu temple Mata Vaishno Devi when it came under attack in the region's Reasi district, senior administrative officer Vishesh Mahajan said.

Some of the victims had gunshot wounds, a police officer said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which also left several others injured.

The police officer spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to reporters.

Local news sites posted videos on X showing the aftermath of the bus crash.

The attack came as India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi — known for his heavy-handed treatment of Kashmir was being sworn in for a third term.

In 2019, the Modi government stripped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Since 1954, the Muslim-majority region has been semi-autonomous, with a separate constitution and inherited protections on land and jobs.

The region is now run by unelected government officials and has lost its flag, criminal code and constitution.

Rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir’s independence or merger with neighbouring 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.