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The Jammu and Kashmir government and Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) today separately announced rewards totalling Rs five lakh for Sheikh Saleem Gafoor, the driver of the bus of Amarnath pilgrims which came under terror attack last night in Anantnag. The rewards have been announced for Gafoor for displaying exemplary alertness and courage by which he saved several lives as he continued to drive the bus in the midst of firing by the terrorists. The state government also announced ex-gratia compensation of Rs six lakh each to the kin of those killed, Rs two lakh for those seriously injured and Rs one lakh for those with minor injuries, an official spokesman said. The Governor also announced relief of Rs five lakh to the next of kin of those killed, Rs 1.50 lakh to those who suffered serious injuries and Rs 75,000 for those with minor injuries, the spokesman said. The state cabinet, which met under the chairpersonship of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, sanctioned a reward of Rs three lakh in favour of Saleem Gafoor for exemplary alertness and courage during the incident, the spokesman said. Governor N N Vohra, in his capacity as chairman of SASB, also announced a special reward of Rs 2 lakh to the driver for his alert response which saved lives of many pilgrims, the spokesman said. Seven pilgrims were killed and 19 others were injured when terrorists fired at their bus near Khanabal while it was on its way to Jammu from Srinagar. The driver kept the vehicle moving even when he was under heavy fire from the front and the wind-screen had been shattered. The cabinet directed the finance department to provide necessary additional funds for meeting the compensation/ex- gratia on most immediate basis for release to the next of kins of the deceased and to the injured, the spokesman said.
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