At least seven Amarnath Yatra pilgrims were killed and 18 others injured as suspected militants attacked their bus in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Monday evening, said the police. The pilgrims hailed from Gujarat, reported ANI.

The attack took place at 8.20 pm when the bus was plying from Baltal to Jammu, according to NDTV. The police said the vehicle was neither part of the main yatra convoy nor registered with the shrine board. Central Reserve Police Force personnel have been sent to the spot.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the attack. “This is an assault on our values and traditions which we hold dear,” she said. “We will leave no stone unturned to root out the perpetrators of this heinous crime.” Home Minister Rajnath Singh also assured Mufti and Governor NN Vohra of total assistance from the Centre, reported ANI.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condemned the “dastardly attack”. “India will never get bogged down by such cowardly attacks & evil designs of hate,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, security has been stepped up in the region. The authorities have blocked internet services in Kashmir. The police are also conducting checks on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in Udhampur.

The Amarnath yatra had been suspended from the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu keeping in mind Burhan Wani’s first death anniversary. The yatra, however, continued from Pahalgam and Baltal base camps in Kashmir.

Attack on police party

In a separate incident, suspected militants fired upon a police partol party in Batengoo area of Anantnag. “Terrorists opened fire on the police patrol party on Srinagar-Jammu highway in south Kashmir,” The Times of India quoted an unidentified senior police officer as saying. Thereafter, the suspected militants fired on a police naka near Khanabal. The police retaliated on both the attacks.