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Hid my children under bus seat as bullets were being fired: Delhi survivor's harrowing tale of J-K terror attack

A resident of Delhi's Tughlakbad Extension, Shankar said he had gone to visit the Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu on his marriage anniversary.
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 14:46 IST
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 14:46 IST

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New Delhi: "I bent down and hid my two children under the bus seat as bullets were being fired from hills... I will never forget those 20-25 minutes of horror," Bhawani Shankar, a survivor of the deadly terror attack on a bus carrying pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district, said on Monday.

A resident of Delhi's Tughlakbad Extension, Shankar said he had gone to visit the Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu on his marriage anniversary on June 6. He was accompanied by his wife Radha Devi and two children— five-year-old daughter Deeksha and three-year-old son Raghav.

Shankar and his family members are among the five hailing from Delhi injured in the terror attack and are undergoing treatment in Jammu and Kashmir hospitals.

Nine people were killed and 41 injured as the terrorists opened fire at the 53-seater bus, which was on its way from the Shiv Khori temple to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra, causing it to veer off the road and fall into a deep gorge near the Teryath village of the Poni area of Reasi on Sunday evening.

"On June 6, we boarded the Shree Shakti Express from Delhi and reached Katra. On June 7, we went to Vaishno Devi temple and returned to our hotel room by midnight on June 8," Shankar told PTI on phone.

"On June 9, we took the bus for Shiv Khori temple from Katra and bought two tickets of Rs 250, each for the trip," he said.

He said while returning from the temple, the bus was attacked.

"We were sitting near the central aisle in the bus. Our children were on our lap. We heard bullet shots at about 6 pm. In just 10-15 seconds, over 20-25 shots were fired. One of the bullets hit our driver and the bus was out of control," he said.

He said the bus turned and spun in the air and later regained its upright position but its wheels were stuck in boulders and trees in the hilly area.

"I bent down and hid my two children under the seat as firing continued from the hills. We hugged each other tightly thinking that it could be the final moments of our life. Some people were shouting, 'hamla ho gaya hai' (it's an attack).

"We remained at this position for 20-25 minutes because some more shots were fired when we were lying in the gorge," Shankar said, adding he will never forget the horrific incident.

He said some of the passengers fell out of the bus. Everyone was shouting and screaming till the rescue team arrived, he added.

Shankar and his two children are admitted to the same hospital while his wife is undergoing treatment in another hospital in Jammu and Kashmir.

"My son's hand is fractured and my daughter has head injuries. I have received internal injuries in my back and my wife received multiple injuries in her head and legs," he said.

Shankar is working as a driver for an officer posted at Indian Oil in Delhi. He stays along with his wife, father and brother-in-law in Delhi's Tughlakabad Extension. His brother-in-law works in a private company.

"I am in regular contact with my family members in Delhi through phone," he said.

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Published 10 June 2024, 14:46 IST

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