Amarnath Yatra suspended over Valley violence

Jammu, July 9 (IANS) The Amarnath Yatra was suspended on Saturday and no pilgrim was allowed to move from Jammu city following the unrest in the Kashmir valley over the killing of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani.

Hundreds of pilgrims had to spend the day in transit camps — one enroute to Baltal and one to Pahalgam, and around 5,000 were at the base camps, officials said.

The situation will be reviewed on Sunday morning to see if the pilgrimage can be resumed.

On Saturday eight protesters died and many were injured in violent clashes with security forces across the Kashmir Valley over the killing of Wani, the poster boy of militancy in Kashmir. The militant was buried on Saturday with thousands massing for the ceremony.

None of the pilgrims were allowed to move due to trouble on the highways.

“The pilgrims have been shifted to transit camps or security force camps. The situation will be reviewed in the morning,” an official said.

Subhash Parmar from Mumbai told IANS: “I have come for the yatra, but many yatris like me are stuck now.”

Suman from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh said: “I can’t go home, there are no cars, we are just waiting, the government officials are nowhere to be seen.”

Manoj Kumar from Varanasi complained that there was “no food” and the road was blocked and some vehicle drivers were asking for a lot of money to transport them, so they were forced to keep waiting.

“No yatri was allowed to move from Bhagawati Nagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu city towards the valley due to prevailing tension following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani,” a senior police official told IANS in Jammu.

“The situation will be reviewed later. Till then the Amarnath Yatra shall remain suspended.”

The annual Amarnath Yatra was proceeding normally so far and over 80,000 pilgrims have had ‘darshan’ of the ‘Lingam’ inside the cave shrine in the Kashmir Himalayas.

Situated at 3,888 metres above sea level, the cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon.

–IANS

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