New Delhi: Terrorism has impaired the nation’s security and peace. In today’s times, no place is safe in the country with so much terrorist insurgencies on the rise.
Thus, pilgrim spots are the favourite targets for terrorists to kill innocent people. in India, it has become a recurrent situation.
Here is a compilation of 5 Hindu pilgrim spots targeted by terrorists:
1. Akshardham Temple, Gujarat
In the afternoon of September 24, 2002, two heavily armed terrorists attacked the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. 30 devotees were killed and 80 injured in the bloodshed.
Black Cat commandos entered the temple at night and the operation codenamed Vajra Shakti carried on till morning which finally led to the death of the two terrorists.
After 8 years of the incident, David Headley, an associate of Lashkar-e-Taiba confessed to the National Investigation Academy that an LeT terrorist named Muzammil was behind the attack.
2. Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple, Varanasi
In March 2006, two blasts rocked the holy city of Varanasi. The first explosion occurred in the Hanuman temple.
Tuesday, being the day of Lord Hanuman worship, the temple was crammed with many devotees.
The second blast occurred at Varanasi Cantonment Railway Station.
The blast took the lives of 28 people and 101 were injured.
The LeT operative behind the blast was shot dead by the police near Lucknow the next day.
Reports revealed that the bombs were made in Bihar and the material to make bombs was taken from Nepal which was then smuggled across the Indo-Nepal border.
3. Raghunath Temple, Jammu
Two fidayeen attacks were carried out on 30 March, 2002, in the famous Raghunathji Mandir in Jammu.
The incident caused the death of seven devotees, including security people and around 20 were injured.
A few months later, in the month of November the same temple was attacked, killing 14 people and injuring 45 people
The terrorists entered the temple by diverting the attention of security forces with grenade attacks in the nearby Hari market.
Moreover they also blocked the escape routes from the temple.
Late K K Pandey was among the brave officers and other CRPF personnel took control of the situation. He was awarded President’s Police Medal posthumously for gallantry.
J&K CM Omar Abdullah had blamed Pakistan for the attack.
4. Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya
The most controversial pilgrim site was prone to terrorist attacks before the SC verdict.
On July 5, 2005, five terrorists, suspected to be from Lakshar-e-Toiba, posed as pilgrimsand entered India via Nepal.
One civilian died in the grenade attack by the terrorists; but all the five terrorists were shotdead in the gunfight with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
BJP blamed the attacks on the Centre and government of U.P and moreover there was a week-long country-wide protest following the incident.
5. Amarnath shrine, Kashmir
The Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva in Jammu, is the toughest holy yatra as the temple is situated at an altitude of 3,888 metres and the freezing cold is unbearable.
The terrorists took advantage of this situation and attack the pilgrims often. In July, 2002, two people were killed and three injured due to an improvised explosive devices planted in a taxi.
Again in July, 2011, the CRPF foiled a terror plot to kill Amarnath pilgrims when a bus carrying three IEDs were defused on the way back. The IEDs were placed inside three pressure cookers and were remote controlled.
Apart from this there are many other cases of attacks on Amarnath pilgrims, which lead to huge decline in the number of devotees visiting the holy shrine.