7 victims cremated amid protests

Ahmedabad, July 11:
The five Amarnath pilgrims from Gujarat, who lost their lives in a terror attack in Kashmir’s Anantnag district, were cremated today even as the anguish over the incident took many from various parts of the State, to the streets.
A large number of people turned up to bid final adieu to the five pilgrims who hailed from Valsad, Navsari and Surat city.
Terrorists last night killed seven pilgrims, including six women, and injured 19 as they attacked their bus in Anantnag district. The bus headed to Amarnath from Valsad town of south Gujarat with 54 passengers early this month.
Out of the seven deceased, two women, identified as Usha Sonkar and Nirmala Thakor, hailed from neighbouring Maharashtra.
Earlier in the day, bodies of the seven pilgrims along with the injured people were brought to Surat airport in an Indian Air Force (IAF) plane, even as angry protests were held across the State against the attack.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel were among those present at the airport to receive the bodies, the injured pilgrims, and the survivors of the attack.
The deceased were identified as Laxmiben Patel, a resident of Valsad town, Surekha Patel, resident of Udwada in Valsad, Ratilal Patel who hailed from Kunta village in Valsad, Champaben Prajapati, resident of Gandevi in Navsari district and Sumitra Patel who hailed from Surat city.
As the news about the attack on the pilgrims spread, the State erupted in anger with people taking to streets in many cities, and asking the Narendra Modi Government to avenge the killings and ‘punish’ Pakistan.
Meanwhile, two women from Palghar district, who were among the seven Amarnath pilgrims killed in a terror attack in Kashmir, were cremated today amid outpouring of grief.
Usha Sonar (55) and Nirmala Thakur (58), residents of Dahanu taluka, were among over 50 Amarnath pilgrims whose bus was attacked by terrorists in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district last night. Seven pilgrims, including six women, were killed and 19 injured in the strike.
The bodies of all the seven pilgrims were flown to Surat in an IAF plane this morning.
From the Gujarat city, the mortal remains of Sonar and Thakur were brought to Dahanu in a helicopter and taken to their respective homes.
Later in the day, their bodies were kept in a hall in Dahanu, where hundreds of people lined up to pay their respect to the departed souls.
A pall of gloom descended on Dahanu, around 130km from Mumbai, when the news of the death of the two women from the taulka poured in.
Residents bid a tearful adieu to Sonar and Thakur, whose last rites were performed at a crematorium in Dahanu in the evening.
Palghar Guardian Minister Vishnu Sawra and local MLA Pascal Dhanare were among the mourners. BJP MLA Manisha Chowdhary was also present at the cremation site.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said tonight that the Maharashtra government has announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the two women.
Thakur had spoken to her family members on Sunday, just a day before the terror attack.
Thakur’s son Pradip said she spoke to him on Sunday and said their bus was pelted with stones just before the start of the yatra.
“We asked her to return but she said she would come back home only after completing the yatra,” Pradip told reporters.
Around 60 people from Valsad, Vapi, Navsari, Udwada and Dahanu went on a 21-day pilgrimage from July 2, said Pradip.
According to Sonkar’s family, she was excited about the trip to the cave shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. “She was a religious person. She was eager to go on this trip,” said a family member. (PTI)


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