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16 pilgrims killed in bus crash in Kashmir

An Indian pilgrim injured in a bus crash is carried into a medical college in Jammu yesterday. At least 16 Hindu pilgrims were killed and many more injured in a crash in Kashmir. — AFP

An Indian pilgrim injured in a bus crash is carried into a medical college in Jammu yesterday. At least 16 Hindu pilgrims were killed and many more injured in a crash in Kashmir. — AFP

AT least 16 Hindu pilgrims were killed and many more injured yesterday in a bus crash in northern India, police said, just days after gunmen shot dead eight worshippers making the same holy visit.

The bus plunged into a gorge in Jammu and Kashmir, the state where thousands of Hindus make the annual pilgrimage to a Himalayan cave revered as the abode of the god Shiva.

“Sixteen people are now confirmed dead, 19 with serious injuries and eight others with minor injuries,” the state’s police force said.

Some of the worst injured were airlifted to hospital, while others were taken to local clinics for treatment.

For the second time in a week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences to pilgrims who died.

“Extremely pained by the loss of lives of Amarnath Yatris (pilgrims) due to a bus accident in J&K,” the prime minister said, referring to the state by its initials.

“My thoughts are with the families of the deceased.”

The tragedy came as another Hindu pilgrim died yesterday from injuries sustained six days ago when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a bus full of worshippers.

“One lady who was injured in the July 10 attack succumbed to her injuries in hospital,” said S. P. Vaid, the state’s director general of police.

Her death takes the toll from Monday’s attack to eight, with seven women and one man killed in the late-night assault. Most were from the western state of Gujarat. It was the worst attack in the divided Himalayan region since 2000.

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