More than 10,000 pilgrims were stranded as the Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday suspended the Amarnath pilgrimage in view of the shutdown in Kashmir on the third death anniversary of terrorist commander Burhan Wani who was killed in an encounter with the security forces in 2016.
Sensing violence during the shutdown, the authorities suspended the convoys carrying the pilgrims from Jammu to Srinagar and back. About 3000 pilgrims scheduled to leave for the base camps in Kashmir were held up here. The number was expected to rise considerably by the evening when more pilgrims reach here.
Those pilgrims who performed the pilgrimage were held up at Baltal and Pahalgam as the convoys for Jammu were also suspended.
The separatists, who had a few days ago said that they would not allow the pilgrimage to be disturbed, had given the call for a shutdown in Kashmir on Monday.
As many as 95,923 pilgrims have performed the ongoing Amarnath pilgrimage in the past seven days, officials said. However, no fresh batch of pilgrims was allowed to move from here on Monday due to the law and order situation. The 45-day long pilgrimage will end on 15 August, coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival and Rakshabandan.
Burhan Wani, once a poster boy of militancy in the Valley, was killed in an encounter with the security forces on 8 July, 2016 in Kokernag area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. His killing triggered massive protests and a prolonged period of curfews and shutdowns across the valley.
The state administration suspended the yatra as a precautionary measure. Vehicles carrying pilgrims were not allowed to move towards the Kashmir Valley on Monday.
Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said that every step has been taken to ensure the day passes off peacefully.
Tight security arrangements were put in place to maintain law and order. Security was beefed up in sensitive areas of the valley to avoid any untoward incident.