Jammu and Kashmir authorities have suspended the Amarnath yatra for one day on Sunday in view of a strike called by separatists to mark the second death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, police said.
Director General of the Jammu and Kashmir Police S P Vaid said, “You know the (law and order) situation in Kashmir is not good and our effort is to ensure safe yatra for the pilgrims. Tomorrow there is a strike call and we have to stop the yatra. Our duty is to ensure safety of the pilgrims.”
He visited Kathua district on Saturday and reviewed the arrangements made for the pilgrims arriving from across the country to undertake the annual pilgrimage in south Kashmir Himalayas. A police spokesman said that the DGP reviewed the security arrangements at Lakhanpur Reception Center, gateway to J&K, besides other important locations. Accompanied by senior officers including the Inspector General of Police, Jammu, S D Singh Jamwal, and the Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Jammu-Kathua-Samba range, Bhim Sen Tuti, Vaid issued directions to all officers of the district to make all possible efforts to further strengthen the security grid and to make the journey comfortable.
Vaid sought cooperation from the Amarnath pilgrims, saying their safety is the highest priority of the government and its agencies. “Security and facilitation of yatris is our top priority; My appeal to the pilgrims is that they should cooperate with us keeping in mind the (law and order) situation in the Valley,” Vaid said. The 60-day yatra to the 3,880-metre-high holy cave shrine of Amarnath began on June 28.
The Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), which manages the yatra, has made elaborate arrangements and the state administration and security agencies are lending support to ensure that the pilgrims do not face problems, the DGP said. The DGP also conducted meeting with officers in district police headquarters Kathua, during which the yatra security, women’s security and measures to fight crime were discussed. Vaid also visited the yatra camp at Chan-Aroria and interacted with the pilgrims, the spokesman said, adding the yatris hailed efforts of the police and gave valuable feedback to the officers.
Mobile internet services were suspended in entire Kashmir Valley as a precautionary measure in the wake of death of three civilians in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said. The civilians were killed allegedly in firing by the security forces during clashes with stone-pelting protesters in Kulgam on Saturday, they said. Mobile internet has been suspended in the entire Kashmir Valley, a police official said.
He, however, said broadband services on BSNL landlines were working. The decision to suspend the mobile internet services is a precautionary measure to maintain law and order, he said.