Massive Manhunt Launched For Terrorists Behind Deadly Attack On Pilgrims

A terrorist attack on a bus carrying pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district has left nine dead and sparked a massive security operation to track down the perpetrators.

(PTI Photo)
Army personnel during a search operation after a bus carrying pilgrims was ambushed by terrorists, in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, Monday, June 10, 2024. (PTI Photo)

Jammu and Kashmir Police, the Army along with other security agencies have launched a massive hunt to track militants involved in the attack on the bus carrying pilgrims to Shiv Kohri shrine in the Reasi district of Jammu.

In the attack, nine pilgrims were killed, and 33 others were wounded as the bus driver after the attack lost control of the vehicle and fell into a deep gorge.

The bus was returning from the holy cave shrine of Shiv Khori when it came under attack in the village of Kanda, located in the Taryath area near the Rajouri district border. The Taryath area, which borders the Kalakote tehsil of Rajouri district, is surrounded by forests and mountains.

Security agencies suspect that militants operating in the Rajouri and Poonch districts could be responsible for the attack. The attack occurred just an hour before the oath ceremony of the new Council of Ministers in the NDA Government.

 “Reasi is an adjoining district of Rajouri, and it could be the same group of terrorists hiding in the forests of Rajouri - Poonch. They need to be quickly tracked down and neutralized by security forces,” former DGP J&K S P Vaid said.

Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said “an ex-gratia of Rs. 10 lakh to be given to the next of kin of pilgrims martyred in Reasi terror attack. The injured would be given Rs. 50,000.”

“The injured pilgrims are being treated at different hospitals in Jammu and Reasi. A control room has been created by the district administration to provide all necessary assistance. A joint security force temporary HQ by J&K Police, Army and CRPF has been set up at the site and operation is in progress to neutralise the perpetrators of Reasi terror attack,” Sinha said.

Giving details, the Superintendent of Police (SSP) Reasi, Mohita Sharma said the pilgrim bus was on way to Reasi after completing Darshan at Shiv Kohri when it came under attack.  “Terrorists opened fire, causing the driver to lose control and the bus to plunge into a gorge," the SSP said.

Talking to reporters at the incident site, the SSP said the incident took place around 6.10 p.m. on Sunday and soon after it Jammu and Kashmir police and civilians living nearby started the rescue operation and by 7:45 the rescue operation was over.

She said that nine people were dead and 33 people were under treatment in different hospitals. The SSP said massive operations had been launched in the forest areas using drone technology to identify the attackers. She said, according to eyewitnesses two terrorists were involved in the attack.

The SSP described the attack as an ambush attack. Of the nine killed, two, the driver and the conductor of the bus, are from Reasi.

One of the wounded, Santosh Kumar Verma from Uttar Pradesh, told reporters at the Jammu hospital that they were returning from the Shiv Khori shrine when a terrorist suddenly appeared in the middle of the road and started firing. "He fired several bullets at the driver and then at the bus, causing it to plunge into a gorge," Verma said.

"I was in the front seat and saw only one terrorist firing. When the bus rolled down, I couldn't see where the shots were coming from," he added. Verma said even after the bus rolled down the firing continued.

The incident occurred around 10 km from Ransu, the base camp of the holy cave shrine of Lord Shiva, known as Shiv Khori, as the bus was en route to Katra. The local bus, No. 3485 JK02AE, had a driver and conductor identified as Vijay Kumar from Dassanoo, Reasi, and Arun Kumar from Kandayar, Katra. Both lost their lives in the attack. All passengers on board were non-locals hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and New Delhi.

While condemning the incident, former Chief Minister and vice president of the National Conference Omar Abdullah said, “I unequivocally condemn this attack. It is unfortunate to see areas that had previously been cleared of all militants see a return of militancy.” Peoples’ Democratic Party senior leader Naeem Akhtar has sought accountability after the incident. “It begs a question: can there be any accountability for resurgence of violence in the state especially Jammu where it had long been wiped out?,” he said.

The region has seen a rise in militant violence since October 11, 2021, when five army soldiers including a JCO, were killed in an encounter with militants at Chamrer forests in Surankote tehsil of Poonch district.

Five days later on October 16, 2021, four soldiers including another JCO were killed in a gun battle with the same group of militants at Bhatta Durrian in Mendhar tehsil of Poonch.

In March and April 2022 around four blasts rocked the Koteranka tehsil in the Rajouri district.  On August 11, 2022, five Army soldiers and two militants were killed during an attack on an Army camp at Pargal in the Darhal area of Rajouri district. On January 1, 2023, seven civilians of the minority community, two of them minors, were killed in firing and an IED blast triggered by terrorists at village Dhangri in Rajouri district.


In the attack on April 20, 2023, militants ambushed an Army truck, killing five soldiers near Bhatta Durian on the Bhimber Gali-Surankote road.

On December 21, 2023, two vehicles of the Army were attacked by militants. Four soldiers were killed, and two soldiers injured as they were on their way to Thanamandi in Rajouri district.

This year on May 06, one Air Force (IAF) personnel was killed after militants ambushed their convoy near Shahsitar in Poonch. The attackers had used US-made M4 rifles and AK-47s to attack the convoy.

Former DGP S.P. Vaid commented on the incident said that it occurred during the third term of the Modi government. He said that Pakistan might be frightened by the formation of a strong government in Delhi, which could be a reason for the attack. Vaid said it is a lesson for many in opposition who insist on having a dialogue with Pakistan.


The attack on a bus carrying pilgrims has raised alarm bells for security agencies, signaling that militants are expanding their operations beyond the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch into the previously peaceful Jammu region. 

Worried over the attack, Tarun Chugh, National General Secretary of the BJP and Prabhari Jammu and Kashmir, said there is a need for a robust intelligence network to prevent such attacks in the future. “Gathering and analyzing intelligence is crucial in identifying and neutralizing threats before they can materialize.”

“The international community also has a role to play in combating terrorism,” Chugh added.

Chugh called for greater cooperation and collaboration between countries to tackle this global threat. “Terrorism is not confined to any one region or country; it is a worldwide issue that requires a concerted and coordinated response. Sharing intelligence, best practices, and resources can significantly enhance the effectiveness of counter-terrorism efforts,” he added. While National Conference president said Dr Farooq Abdullah that he was worried about the Amarnath Yatra. “I am afraid that they have to care of the Amarnath Yatra and nothing like this happens and the Yatra goes peacefully.”