NEW DELHI: hawani Shankar, a survivor of the deadly terror attack on a bus carrying pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir‘s Reasi district, recounted the harrowing experience on Monday. Shankar, a resident of Delhi’s Tughlakabad Extension, had gone to visit the Vaishno Devi shrine with his wife Radha Devi and two young children on his marriage anniversary.
“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,” he said.
The family is among the five hailing from Delhi who were injured in the attack and are currently receiving treatment in Jammu and Kashmir hospitals. The incident occurred on Sunday evening when terrorists opened fire at the 53-seater bus, causing it to veer off the road and fall into a deep gorge near the Teryath village of the Poni area of Reasi. Nine people were killed and 41 injured in the attack.
Shankar described the sequence of events, stating that they had boarded the Shree Shakti Express from Delhi on June 6 and visited the Vaishno Devi temple on June 7. On June 9, they took a bus from Katra to the Shiv Khori temple. It was during their return journey that the attack took place. “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 recalled.
The bus turned and spun in the air before regaining its upright position, but its wheels were stuck in boulders and trees in the hilly area.
Shankar and his family huddled together, fearing for their lives as the firing continued from the hills. They remained in that position for 20-25 minutes until the rescue team arrived. Some passengers fell out of the bus, and everyone was shouting and screaming throughout the ordeal.
Shankar and his two children are admitted to the same hospital, while his wife is undergoing treatment in another hospital in Jammu and Kashmir. The family members have sustained various injuries, including fractures and head injuries. Shankar, who works as a driver for an officer at Indian Oil in Delhi, stays in regular contact with his family members back home through phone.