July 20, 1995 & 2001: Amarnath Pilgrimage Massacres, gruesome terror attacks in recent history
Every year, thousands of pilgrims from all parts of the country visit the Amarnath shrine, located at the head of the Sindh Valley in Kashmir despite the turmoil caused by terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir every now and then. However, terrorist attacks for disrupting the annual yatra have always continued to be reported from the region. Many innocent devotees who undertake the Hindu pilgrimage yatra become the targets of these Pakistan backed terror outfits and lose their lives, but the number of pilgrims keep only rising every year irrespective of such threats.
July 20, 1995, Old Market, When terrorists carried out massive killings of 17 Hindus injuring 36 others in Jammu to stop Amarnath Yatra
On 26 January 1995, Governor KV Krishna Rao was taking part in the Republic Day parade at the MA Stadium in Jammu when three bomb blasts suddenly rocked the entire stadium. Although, Governor KV Krishnarao survived the attack in some way, but eight people including three officers of the Information Department, got killed in the attack while injuring 45 more. It showed how far Islamic terrorism had spread in the region by 1995 in the Kashmir Valley, in fact, after 1989, about 2.5 lakh Kashmiri Hindus from the Kashmir Valley had left their homes, their ancestral land and settled in Jammu region owing to terror threats and killings of their people.
Thousands of Kashmiri Hindus were staying in temporary camps in Jammu city too. But the plan of the Islamic terrorists was to expel Hindus from all over Jammu and Kashmir, for this the terrorists had carried out terrorist attacks in different cities and villages of Jammu division till 1995.
Apart from this, Islamic terrorists continuously trying to disrupt the Amarnath Yatra in Kashmir valley made all attempts to target Hindus undertaking the holy yatra. It was in 1995 when the sudden terrorist attacks in Jammu saw a great boom. Despite the terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, the Governor's administration was committed to continuing the Amarnath Yatra uninterrupted every year.
Thousands of devotees were reaching Jammu to participate in the yatra. While the terrorists were constantly threatening to stop the Amarnath Yatra in the Kashmir Valley, the state administration was busy organizing the yatra starting from the month of August. It was when the terrorists finally planned to carry out the plot of a major attack. The old Mandi area of Jammu was an old famous market which was usually packed with a number of Hindus engaged in purchasing as per their needs.
On July 20, 1995, an autorickshaw filled with RDX explosives entered the market and a suicide terrorist exploded the autorickshaw in a crowded area. The explosion was so powerful that it was felt in other adjacent areas several hundred meters away. In this blast, 15 people were killed on the spot, while more than 36 people were injured. While two of the victims died in hospital, in total, at least 37 common people lost their lives in the blast.
Pakistani terrorist organization Harkat-ul-Ansar claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack and the statement issued by Harkat-ul-Ansar said that this attack was a warning for the pilgrims coming to the Amarnath Yatra and the officials who are looking after the management work.
After the blast, there was a great tide of anger and fear of terror among the people of Jammu, especially Hindus. It was clear that the central government and state government agencies were unable to stop the terror. The situation had become so worse that people did no more feel safe even in Jammu and against which protests continued for several days in the valley. Many arrests were made in this case, but the police failed to apprehend the terrorists of Harkat-ul-Ansar responsible for the blast and even after that the terror attacks on Amarnath Yatris continued.
July 20, 2001, When the terrorists killed 15 people in a land mine explosion
On this day, thirteen people were killed and another fifteen were wounded in an attack by terrorists on a Hindu pilgrimage high in the Himalayas. The terrorists exploded land mines then engaged Indian security forces in a gun battle at Sheshnag, halfway along the route to the cave-shrine of Amarnath. Six pilgrims, and five porters were among the dead.