Washington: Pledging to continue alongside India in fighting terrorism, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday condemned the terrorist killing of seven Amarnath pilgrims as an attack on religious freedom.
“An attack on religious freedom is an attack on the most fundamental right of liberty,” a White House statement said. “The United States and India will continue to fight together against terrorist threats in every part of the world.”
The statement issued by Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer made a clear reference to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, dispelling an earlier controversy over the State Department calling it “Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.”
“The United States strongly condemns the cowardly terrorist attack on religious pilgrims in the state of Jammu and Kashmir on July 10,” the statement said. “We extend condolences to the victims’ families and the people of India.”
Hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Trump last month, the State Department sparked a controversy with a referenced to “Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir” while announcing the designation of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist.
Seven Amarnath Yatra pilgrims were killed and 19 others injured in a terror attack on a bus full of yatris in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Monday night.
On Tuesday, Mary K. Carlson, Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy in New Delhi had tweeted her condemnation. “We deplore the attack on Amarnath pilgrims and condemn all acts of terrorism. Deepest condolences to the families and all those affected,” she said.