Bus crash in northern India kills at least 16 Hindu pilgrims

Vehicle plunges into gorge in Jammu and Kashmir state, site of annual pilgrimage to Himalayan cave

At least 16 Hindu pilgrims have been killed and many more injured after a bus crash in India’s northern Jammu and Kashmir state, police have said, just days after gunmen shot dead eight worshippers making the same holy visit.

“Sixteen people are now confirmed dead, 19 with serious injuries and eight others with minor injuries,” Jammu and Kashmir police said in a statement on Sunday.

The bus plunged into a gorge in the northern state where hundreds of Hindus make the annual pilgrimage to a Himalayan cave revered as the abode of the god Shiva. Some of the worst injured were being airlifted to hospital, while others were taken to local clinics for treatment, police said.

The tragedy came as another Hindu pilgrim died on Sunday from injuries sustained six days ago when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a bus full of worshippers.

“One lady who was injured in the 10 July attack succumbed to her injuries in hospital,” said Shesh Paul Vaid, the state’s director general of police.

Her death takes the toll from Monday’s attack to eight, with seven women and one man killed in the late-night assault. It was the worst such attack in the divided Himalayan region since 2000 when gunmen fired on a group of Hindu pilgrims, killing 32 people including two police officers.

Tens of thousands of Hindus from all over India travel to Kashmir every year to visit an ice formation in the Amarnath caves that is worshipped as a symbol of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction.

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