The annual Hindu pilgrimage, iconic Amarnath Yatra, has been suspended this year due to the spread of coronavirus pandemic, the Amarnath Shrine Board told on Tuesday.

This will be the second consecutive year for the suspension of the Hindu pilgrimage to Jammu and Kashmir as last year it was done mid-way, days before the scrapping of Article 370.

“Based upon the circumstances, the Board decided with a heavy heart that it is not advisable to hold and conduct this year’s Shri Amarnathji Yatra and expressed its regret to announce the cancellation of Yatra 2020,” the Amarnath Shrine Board said in a statement.

The Board further said that the devotees will be able to pay respects to the deity through live telecast.

“The Board further discussed that pandemic has put the health administration system to its limit. The spike has been particularly very sharp in July. Health Workers and Security Forces are also getting infected and the focus of entire Medical, Civil and Police Administration at the moment is on containing the local transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic. The health concerns are so serious that the strain on the health system, along with the diversion in resources to the Yatra, will be immense,” it added.

“The Board further deliberated the considered views of the government. The government made reasoned observations supported by facts which suggested that it would not be advisable to conduct Shri Amarnathji Yatra 2020 and it would be advisable to cancel it this year in larger public interest,” it said.

A meeting in this regard, presided over by Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu, was held which was attended by senior Union Territory and the Board officials.