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Yatra Moving Smooth: Over 11,000 pilgrims for Amarnath from 2 routes

Wasim Khan

Srinagar: The third day of the Amarnath Yatra has so been moving smoothly. Despite earlier concerns of local unrest against security forces, the pilgrims say they’re feeling safe.

Even as Kashmir Valley continues to remain on the edge, the first batch of pilgrims started on the Amarnath trek on Thursday. Security officials and shrine board says foolproof security mechanism is in place and that pilgrims have no need to fear.

Anantnag, Mattan, Pulwama, Kakpora, Koimoh, Sopore and Baramulla remain under curfew. Severe restrictions have been imposed and security has been tightened at all checkpoints. Separatists are stepping up their agitation and the Hurriyat Conference has called for an Eidgah Chalo march in Srinagar.

Over 11,000 pilgrims today left for the holy cave shrine of Amarnath from the twin routes as the annual Amarnath yatra entered its second day.

“As many as 11,209 yatris left for darshan of the 3,888 metre cave shrine of Lord Shiva from the traditional routes of Nunwan-Pahalgam and Baltal-Sonamarg,” an official spokesman of the organising committee said.

Deputy Chief Minister, Tara Chand, Minister for Medical Education, R S Chib, Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation, Raman Bhalla and adviser to Chief Minister, Mubarak Gul visited the base camps to monitor the arrangements made for the devotees, the spokesman added.

The team took stock of the arrangement and facilities provided by the government and also reviewed the medical facilities being provided to the yatris in both the base camps.

Meanwhile Minister for Roads and Buildings, G M Saroori and Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Qamar Ali Akhoon convened a series of meetings at Batote, Ramban and Banihal to review the arrangements being made available to the devotees en route.

Around 7000 yatris had left for the arduous journey yesterday. As many as 2.75 lakh pilgrims have been registered so far across the country. The yatra would conclude on August 25.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had yesterday asked his entire team of ministers to fan out to various parts of the state, including trouble-torn North and South Kashmir, besides posting senior ministers including Abdul Rahim Rather in Jammu to oversee the arrangements in the temple city for Amarnath pilgrims.

The Central government has provided around 8,500 paramilitary force personnel to ensure fool-proof security during the two-month-long Yatra.

The security personnel have been deployed along the entire route to the cave shrine of Lord Shiva at a height of 3,888 metres in the south Kashmir Himalayas.

“We have provided enough securitymen for peaceful completion of the pilgrimage,” a Home Ministry official said.


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