Seven Hindu pilgrims killed in militant attack in Indian Kashmir

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SRINAGAR/JAMMU The dastardly terror attack on Amarnath yatris in Kashmir's Anantnag district on Monday, which left seven dead and 19 injured, has failed to cower other pilgrims or the administration, which carried on with the annual tour to Lord Shiva's cave shrine.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said an attack on religious freedom is an attack on the "most fundamental right of liberty".

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday chaired a security meeting with the Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir and Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh in Srinagar after the awful Amarnath Yatra terror attack.

Several US lawmakers also condemned the attack and expressed compassion towards the victims' families.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to accept responsibility for the attack.

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Earlier on Tuesday, the U.S. ambassador to New Delhi deplored the attack on Amarnath pilgrims and said it condemned all acts of terrorism.

Hindus and pilgrims of every religion should be able to visit their holy places without fear of attacks by terrorists, said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. "Our prayers are with the victims and those who were affected", the statement added.

Civilian deaths have increased 164 per cent, as we said, from 14 in 2015-16 to 37 in 2016-17, while terrorist deaths have risen 18 per cent during this period to 178 in 2016-17.

"There has to be an unambiguous condemnation of terror, and a recognition that such attacks are a sign of desperation at the aggressive crackdown by security forces", said a party source.

"The local police has reportedly held Lashkar terrorist Abu Ismail responsible for carrying out the attack with the assistance of local Hizbul Mujahideen cadre. Safety and security of the pilgrims will be ensured", Singh, who is the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, said as he hailed the people of the border state. "Deepest condolences to the families & all those affected", the U.S. ambassador to New Delhi's official Twitter post said. "The attack is reprehensible and must be condemned", said Congressman Will Hurd. The state government is serious about the incidents that happened during the Amarnath Yatra.

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