Jammu: Pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath was suspended on Saturday as a precautionary measure in view of a separatists-sponsored strike in the Kashmir valley on Martyrs’ Day, officials said.
As many as 12 batches of pilgrims have so far left for the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal in Kashmir valley from Jammu since the beginning of the pilgrimage on 30 June.
“Amarnath yatra has been suspended from Jammu as a precautionary measure in wake of the strike called by separatists in Kashmir valley on Saturday,” an official said.
13 July is observed as Martyrs’ Day in Kashmir. On this day in 1931, 22 people were killed in firing by the forces of Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh.
Separatists have called for a shutdown as a mark of respect to those killed in the firing.
On 8 July, the pilgrimage was suspended as a precautionary measure in view of the third death anniversary of former Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
Due to the strike, normal life was severely affected in the valley as shops and other business establishments remained closed, while public transport remained off roads, the officials said.
They said some private vehicles, however, were plying in intra-city and inter-district routes of Kashmir.
Over 1.50 lakh pilgrims have paid obeisance at the cave shrine in the last 12 days of the Amarnath yatra.
Over 1.75 lakh pilgrims have so far registered themselves for the 46-day long pilgrimage, which is through the 36-km Pahalgam track in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district and the shorter 14-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district.
The pilgrimage commenced on 1 July from both Baltal and Pahalgam routes. Multi-tier security arrangements were made for the smooth and successful conduct of the yatra that concludes on 15 August.
As many as 2.85 lakh pilgrims had paid obeisance at the cave last year, while the number of pilgrims was 3.52 lakh in 2015, 3,20 lakh in 2016 and 2.60 lakh in 2017.