A "highest alert" has been sounded across Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the killing of seven Amarnath pilgrims by militants, the Home Ministry said today. The alert was issued after a central ministerial team comprising Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh and Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir visited Kashmir and held extensive discussions with the top brass of the security establishment, Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on the prevailing situation. "Considering the unfortunate loss of life and injuries suffered by the yatris (pilgrims) in the recent terror attack, the entire security apparatus has been put on the highest alert by the ministers," a home ministry statement said. Seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, were killed and 19 injured when terrorists attacked a bus in Kashmir's Anantnag district on Monday. The ministers visited Srinagar, following a directive from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh. They discussed the security situation in detail with the chief minister and the governor, before holding an in-depth security review with the local army commander, the chief secretary, the police chief and senior officers of the state government, the DG of the CRPF, and senior officers of BSF and other security agencies, the statement said. The central ministers stressed that the entire country was with the Kashmiris and the pilgrims and that all arrangements for a safe and secure pilgrimage would continue with renewed vigour. The central ministers expressed their gratitude to the governments of Jammu and Kashmir and Maharashtra and the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board for the financial assistance announced for the victims of the attack. It is a unique pilgrimage where people of one faith undertake the pilgrimage, while people belonging to all other faiths play the host, the home ministry statement said. The central ministers also appreciated the proactive role being played by the governor, the chief minister and the entire state government machinery, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board and the security agencies, particularly the state police, the statement said. So far, more than 1.5 lakh pilgrims have visited the cave shrine located in the Himalayas.
The 40-day long pilgrimage started on June 29.
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