Jammu and Kashmir Government Calls Off Amarnath Yatra

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On the 2nd of August, the Jammu and Kashmir Government called off the Amarnath Yatra due to a terror alert.

Lt. General Kanwal Singh Dhillon, the incharge of Chinar Corps in Srinagar, said, “For the last four days we are getting specific and confirmed intelligence inputs that terrorists led by Pakistan and the Pakistan Army are trying to target the Shri Amarnath Yatra which is going on.”

The terror alert came after the Indian Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police found a mine with Pakistan ordnance factory markings during search operations, on the route to Amarnath.  They also discovered weapons and other ammunition.

A senior Jammu and Kashmir Police officer said, “With major threat coming from Pakistan based groups particularly JeM and recovery of M 24 sniper rifle and anti-personnel mines along the Amarnath pilgrimage route, the government decided not to take chances and curtailed the yatra. With personnel freed from yatra duties, the security forces can now concentrate on counter-insurgency grid.”

With regard to the safety of tourists, the Jammu and Kashmir Government asked all the pilgrims who undertook the Amarnath Yatra to head back to the Kashmir Valley as there was a threat to their safety in Amarnath.

This is not the first time pilgrims on the Amarnath Yatra were attacked.  In 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2017, terrorist groups attacked pilgrims who were on their way to Amarnath.

The attacks were made to disturb the peaceful environment of Jammu and Kashmir, especially during the Amarnath Yatra in July and August, when pilgrims from across India come to the State.

According to intelligence reports, multiple terrorist organisations like Lashkar e Taliban (LeT) and Jaish e Mohammed (JeM) are planning to attack pilgrims.

Apart from the Amarnath Yatra, the Jammu and Kashmir Government also cancelled the Machail Mata Yatra in Kishtwar.

The Home Department of Jammu and Kashmir Government also issued an order stating, “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 the 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 situation in Jammu and Kashmir arose after rumours the Central Government will abrogate Article 35A and Article 370.

On the 1st of August, the Central Government also deployed 28,000 troops to avoid terrorist attacks on the 15th of August.

Stay tuned for further updates.