Responding to news of the killing of seven pilgrims during an attack by a suspected armed group in Botengoo, Jammu and Kashmir, Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India, said: “Shooting at a bus carrying ordinary people on a pilgrimage shows utter contempt for human life and the fundamental principles of humanity. Those behind this horrific assault should be found and punished.
The Jammu and Kashmir authorities must protect all civilians and ensure that they are not put in danger, while upholding human rights law and standards. They must guard against any attacks, including reprisal attacks, which could lead to more civilian casualties.”
The seven pilgrims killed – five women and two men – were participating in the Amarnath Yatra, a popular annual Hindu pilgrimage to a cave shrine. At least 16 others were injured in the attack. The Jammu and Kashmir police said that unidentified gunmen attacked a police bunker and a security checkpoint – to which the police retaliated – before firing at a bus carrying the pilgrims.