As the government on Tuesday blamed separatists for gunning down seven Amarnath pilgrims and wounding 19 more in Kashmir before fleeing into the night, rebel groups in the disputed region condemned the deadly attack on civilians and insisted they had no part in it. An intelligence report that was circulated to Jammu & Kashmir police, military and paramilitary units two weeks ago indicates security officials had been expecting an attack. The intelligence report, marked “top secret,” warned that a “sensational attack by terrorist outfits cannot be ruled out” in the region. The memo, dated June 25, and verified as authentic by The Associated Press, said, “terrorists have been directed to eliminate 100 to 150 pilgrims and about 100 police.” It described circumstances eerily similar to what transpired on Monday night- “The attack may be in the form of standoff fire on yatra convoy, which they (militants) believe will result in flaring of communal tensions throughout the nation.” Also Read Police were searching for the assailants, who they said were from the Pakistan-based rebel group Lashkar-e-Taiba. “We’re investigating the attack, but we know certainly that the Lashkar has done it. We’ll soon deal with them,” police Inspector General Muneer Ahmed Khan said. Lashkar-e-Taiba denied any involvement in the attack, which they called “reprehensible” and “un-Islamic,” according to a statement sent to local media in Srinagar. “No Kashmiri has ever targeted any pilgrims, and this barbarity and atrocity is the trademark of Indian forces,” the group’s statement said. Omar Abdullah, former Chief Minister of Kashmir, asked the Home Ministry to protect Kashmiri students and workers across the nation. “Possibility of backlash can’t be ignored,” he said in a Twitter message. Most of the pilgrims wounded in the attack were released from hospitals on Tuesday. The bodies of those killed were flown to New Delhi on their way to Gujarat and Maharashtra. The attack sparked outrage across Kashmir and other states. In the Jammu region, hundreds of protesters shouted angry slogans against the militants and burned a faceless effigy meant to represent both terrorism and Pakistan. Many shops and businesses were shut for a protest strike in Jammu. Meanwhile, students in Ahmadabad gathered for a sit-in protest against all religious violence, while peace activists planned a candlelight vigil in New Delhi on Tuesday night. Kashmiri separatist leaders condemn terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims Amarnath Yatra attack: Narendra Modi says India will never be bogged down by evil designs of hate Police said the attack began with gunmen unleashing a hail of bullets on an armoured police vehicle and, soon after, on a nearby police patrol. They said that a bus carrying 60 pilgrims had been passing through the area when the patrolling police and militants were exchanging fire, and that some bullets struck the bus and its passengers. The police also said that the bus had been travelling at night, despite instructions to avoid the roads after dark. Though security had been increased along the route for the pilgrimage, thousands of deployed soldiers and police do not patrol overnight. Several bus passengers who were wounded gave a different version of events, saying the bus had been targeted from three directions during the attack. They said the driver kept driving the bus as it was being struck with bullets near Anantnag . The annual summer pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine, which began on June 29 under heavy security, has been targeted in the past. On Tuesday, thousands of pilgrims continued the pilgrimage undeterred, as soldiers and police increased security along the Himalayan route for buses carrying pilgrims to the base camps where they start walking the path to the high mountain cave. None of the rebel groups in the region have claimed responsibility for the attack, and the three top separatist leaders in Kashmir condemned it. They demanded an independent investigation into the attack. “This incident goes against the very grain of Kashmiri ethos,” the separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammed Yasin Malik said in a joint statement. Also Read
Zaheer AbbasI don’t see Pakistan winning this World Cup. It’s not at all a strong team. Pakistan have only two good batsmen-Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq. If these two fail in a match, there is no one to navigate the team out of a crisis. Younis Khan is an experienced player and knows how to play according to the situation. Though he started playing cricket at the international level very late-at the age of 27-Misbah has been improving with every game. What has impressed me most is his effort to spend maximum time at the crease.Our bowling has obviously lost the sheen. The team can’t depend on Shoaib Akhtar as he is not 100 per cent fit. He is limping and can break down any moment. There is no immediate replacement for Akhtar. It’s heartening to see him taking wickets but the team clearly misses the services of Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir who have had to sit out of the tournament due to their involvement in the spot fixing scam. Umar Gul has to be consistent and Abdur Razzaq can be effective only on fast wickets. I would also want to see Razzaq bat ahead of captain Shahid Afridi. Razzaq has won us several matches coming at No.6.Misbah-ul-HaqThe team is winning under Afridi but only a crisis will expose how good he is as a captain. He should bat only during slog overs as he doesn’t take responsibility. He wants to hit every ball for a six and doesn’t play according to the situation. He is now too old to change his style, so he should come out to bat only in the last six or seven overs. He should learn from Indian captain M.S. Dhoni. Dhoni was a pinch-hitter earlier, but ever since he became captain, he doesn’t throw his wicket.The Pakistan team is also one of the worst fielding sides in the tournament. They have to improve in this department quickly. Only then can the team hope to reach, at least, the semi-finals.advertisementZaheer Abbas is a former batsman of Pakistan. He spoke to Kaushik Deka. PITCH REPORT”There is pressure if you win, pressure if you lose. I would have told you the exact figure if I had a machine to measure it.”M.S. Dhoni, Indian captainWords WorthJournalists have deleted Tony Greig ‘s number from their phonebooks. The 6´´6´- tall English commentator has sent a letter to ESPN Star Sports asking for more money if he has to express his “valuable” views on the World Cup. He has already been paid over Rs 20 lakh by the channel for his services as a commentator. “If I have to open my mouth except for eating, you will have to pay for it,” Greig wrote.The SoothsayerAhead of the India vs England match at Bangalore on February 27, Shane Warne predicted on Twitter that the game would be a tie. Since then bookies across the globe are trying to get his number on speed dial. “Before you think there was something untoward regarding the prediction of a tie, I thought it was going to be a cracker-it was tongue-in-cheek, but right,” he tweeted again. Warnie, you are the new Octopus.
India’s ace shuttler Saina Nehwal made a rousing start to her bid for an Olympic medal as she beat Swiss Sabrina Jaquet in straight games in women’s singles group stage opening match on Sunday. The world number five Saina was too good for the 65th ranked Sabrina as she took just 22 minutes to complete a 21-9 21-4 victory at the Wembley arena.Sabrina, who had qualified for the Games by reaching the quarter finals of the 2012 European Championship in Karlskrona, Sweden, could not provide any resistance to Saina, who launched her campaign on a dominating note.The 22-year-old Indian, who came into the tournament after winning the Thailand Grand Prix Gold and Indonesian Super Series Premium last month, took 12 minutes to wrap up the first game, before sealing the issue in her favour by winning the second game in just 10 minutes.Such was the domination of the Indian that Sabrina was reduced to a bystander as the Indian kept lapping up her points in quick succession. The girl from Hyderabad led by a massive 12 and 17 points in the first and second game respectively.Saina, who had reached the quarterfinals in her Olympic debut at the Beijing Games four years ago, will take on Lianne Tan of Belgium in another group E match on Monday.