Guwahati: In a tragic development, a bus full of pilgrims on the way to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine base camp caught fire on Friday near Shani Dev temple in Jammu and Kashmir’s Katra, killing four people and leaving 24 people with severe injuries.
Sources also said that a sticky bomb was used for the blast on the bus heading to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine base camp.
According to eyewitnesses, the fire had started after a mysterious blast inside the vehicle on Thursday. Several people had suffered burn injuries.
The sticky bomb was attached near the fuel tank of the bus full of pilgrims, sources said.
The NIA and intelligence teams had visited the incident site and had detected traces of RDX in the bomb. Moreover, a traveller gave a dying declaration that he heard the explosion before the fire.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police are suspecting the role of the Islamic terror outfit in the Katra bus fire incident that killed four people and injured 24 others on Saturday.
Hours after the blast, a letter issued by one Islamic terror outfit, ‘Jammu and Kashmir Freedom Fighters’ began doing rounds on social media platforms. In the letter, the terror outfit claimed responsibility for the Katra bus fire incident, which it said was an ‘IED blast’ triggered by one of its ‘special squads’.
The letter issued by a terrorist Nadeem Choudary, who claimed to be the spokesperson of the terror outfit, read, “In the guise of religious pilgrimage, this Hindutva regime is trying its best to change the demography of Jammu and Kashmir. But we will sabotage their filthy propaganda at every level. This attack is linked to a series of bombings carried out by our special squad at Jammu, Udhampur and Rajouri areas. We warn the non-locals who are used as cannon fodder by this Hindutva regime not to visit the disputed territory.”
Meanwhile, a team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has inspected the passenger bus that was gutted near Katra town. The NIA and police have also taken samples for Forensic Science Laboratory. The explosives experts team inspected the site for over an hour and collected samples.
However, the investigation has so far not revealed whether it was the IED blast that caused the death of the passengers.
Four persons were killed and 24 others injured when the moving bus, mostly devotees, caught fire near Nomai near Katra, the base camp of Mata Vaishnodevi mandir.