J&K Govt Curtails Amarnath Yatra
“Keeping in view the latest intelligence inputs of terror threats, with specific targeting of the Amarnath Yatra, and given the prevailing security situation in the Kashmir Valley, in the interest of safety and security of the tourists and Amarnath Yatris, it is advised that they may curtail their stay in the valley immediately and take necessary measures to return as soon as possible,” the state government said in a security advisory.
Addressing a press conference earlier, commander of Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, Lt Gen KJS Dhillon said, “In the last three to four days, we got confirmed intel reports that terrorists are trying to disrupt the Amarnath Yatra. A thorough search was carried out on the routes by a combined team of the Army, CRPF and Jammu and Kashmir Police.”
Dhillon said, “We had achieved major successes. An M-24 American sniper rifle with a telescope and a landmine with Pakistan ordnance factory markings have been recovered. The route of the Amarnath Yatra was sanitised for three days.”
Last week, the Union Home Ministry had ordered the deployment of additional 100 companies of central paramilitary forces in the state. One company comprises around 100 personnel.
Pilgrims who were on Amarnath pilgrimage on Friday expressed their disappointment over the government advisory asking them to curtail their trip but agreed that the step may have been taken because of security concerns.
Sonu Verma, one of the pilgrims, told ANI: “We have heard the announcement on the news. No official announcement has been done at the base camp. This is a matter of grave sadness that we living in our country but we cannot go on our Yatra.”
“However, we also don’t want to go without security. The government has taken the decision for the best,” he added.
Yashwant Sharma, another pilgrim, said: “We have been waiting here for the past four days. We will make the move as soon as the government announces about our safety.”
“We came here with the hope to go on darshan. However, how can we go if the government feels there is a security threat,” he added.