In a controversial statement following the attack on Amarnath yatris, Amnesty International India has warned the government of 'reprisal' attacks on civilians while condemning the "utter contempt for human life and the fundamental principles of humanity."
The statement said, “Shooting at a bus carrying ordinary people on a pilgrimage shows utter contempt for human life and the fundamental principles of humanity. Those behind this horrific assault should be found and punished."
It also added, "The Jammu and Kashmir authorities must protect all civilians and ensure that they are not put in danger, while upholding human rights law and standards. They must guard against any attacks, including reprisal attacks, which could lead to more civilian casualties.”
The organisation, however, has remained mute and evaded question on what they meant by "reprisal attacks".
At a time when India stands with Amarnath victims and the pilgrims, and given the sensitivity of the situation, was this provocative statement from the human rights body needed?
Seven pilgrims, most of them women, were killed and 19 injured on Monday night in Jammu and Kashmir when terrorists opened fire on a bus returning from the Amarnath shrine.
Sources have revealed that it was a joint operation between the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Hizbul Mujahideen. The mastermind behind the attack was a Pakistani terrorist, Abu Ismail. Ismail was helped by 2 more Pakistani terrorists and 2 local aides.
The logistics support came from the the Hizbul cadres. The main aim of the terrorists was to barge into the bus, while they opened fired to have maximum number of casualties.
Reports have suggested that the terrorists who had divided themselves in two groups, did a 3-day recce dressed as shepherds. Their target was buses who come out the ring of the security cordon.
The pilgrims' bus was surrounded on three sides by the terrorists near a security checkpost at Anantnag and fired at. Troops of the 90th and 40th Battalion have been rushed to the spot of terror attack. The injured have been taken to Anantnag District hospital and those critically injured are being shifted to Srinagar.
The Jammu and Kashmir police said the "bus was on its way to Jammu from Baltal and was not a part of the convoy."
Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has condemned the Amarnath terror attack in which seven pilgrims were killed and 15 others injured in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district, and called for 'elimination of terrorism'.
"This incident should add to our determination to eliminate terrorism. Terrorist attack on #AmarnathYatra is the most reprehensible act. My condolences to the bereaved families," he said on Twitter.
The incident was also condemned by other political leaders, including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Digvijaya Singh, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and others.