‘Saw driver’s head falling on steering wheel’: Survivors recount Reasi terror attack horror | Latest News India

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By Mahtab Ahmad

The security forces in Jammu and Kashmir have launched a massive manhunt for three Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists who attacked a bus full of Hindu pilgrims in the union territory’s Reasi district on Sunday. Nine people, including a two-year-old toddler, died in the attack.

Reasi: The damaged bus, which was carrying pilgrims.(PTI)
Reasi: The damaged bus, which was carrying pilgrims.(PTI)

The bus was returning to Katra, Vaishno Devi, from Shiv Khouri, another pilgrimage spot, when at least three foreign terrorists opened fire on the vehicle. After the driver was hit, the bus veered off the road and fell into a deep gorge. The terrorists even fired on the mangled bus to inflict maximum damage, said eyewitnesses.

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The survivors of the bus attack said they played dead in order to make the terrorists stop firing at the vehicle.

Santosh Kumar Verma, a native of UP’s Balrampur district, said when he first saw a terrorist blocking the vehicle’s way, he thought he would not survive. He told The Indian Express that he saw the driver’s head falling on the steering wheel. The bus then fell into the gorge.

Another eyewitness said they laid pinned on the ground without making any movement. “We pretended to be dead until the militants left,” he added.

Rajat Ram Verma said he lost his 14-year-old son in the attack.

Also read: Pakistan-based terror group LeT behind Reasi terror attack

“Suddenly, someone cried that militants had attacked the bus. I immediately pushed my wife and son under the seat, but before we could take the cover, the bus fell down into the gorge and I lost my grip on my son,” he told the daily.

11 teams of police, army and CRPF are jointly working on two different axes to neutralise the terrorists, a senior police official told PTI.

The authorities have not ruled out the possibility of a fourth person being present at the spot who acted as a lookout for the terrorists.

The bus was carrying pilgrims from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi.

The Resistance Front (TRF), a shadow group of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit, initially claimed responsibility for the attack but retracted its statement later.

Also read: ‘Have to start war with Pak if…’: Union minister says Reasi terror attack was ‘deliberate’

Two-year-old Titu Sawhney and his mother Pooja, the bus driver and conductor, are among the deceased. Five of the nine deceased had gunshot wounds. Out of 41 injured, 10 have gunshot wounds.

The operation is being carried out in difficult terrain. The forces have fanned out to intercept the terrorists despite dense forest, lack of water sources, threat of forest fires, steep slopes and crevices that work as natural hideouts, said a senior officer.

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said the attack was a despicable attempt to instigate turmoil in Jammu.

With inputs from PTI

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