Kashmir alert on pilgrims, yatras cancelled

Kashmir alert on pilgrims, yatras cancelled


Pakistan-based terrorists are planning to target the ongoing Amarnath yatra, the Army has said, and, along with this, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has issued a security alert asking them to 'curtail' their stay in the Valley and leave immediately.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has advised airlines to stay ready to operate additional flights from Srinagar airport if the need arises. The yatra commenced on July 1 and is slated to end on August 15. Leaders of the National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), termed the advisory unprecedented and said it would trigger panic in the Valley.

There have been concerns in Kashmir over the increased deployment of security forces in the past few days, and statements about a possible repeal of Article 35A have added to the tension.

'Friends staying in hotels in Gulmarg are being forced to leave. State Road Transport Corporation buses are being deployed to bus people out from Pahalgam and Gulmarg. If there is a threat to the yatra, why is Gulmarg being emptied?' the NC’s Mr. Omar Abdullah tweeted.

'Complete chaos on the streets of Srinagar. People rushing to ATMs, petrol pumps and stocking up on essential supplies. Is the Government of India only concerned about the safety of yatris while Kashmiris have been left to their own devices?' the PDP’s Ms. Mehbooba Mufti asked.

She said she would reach out to other Kashmiri political leaders, including Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Mr. Sajjad Lone, 'to come together to deliberate on the future course of action.You failed to win over the love of a single Muslim majority state which rejected division on religious grounds and chose secular India. The gloves are finally off and India has chosen territory over people,” she tweeted.

The PDP and NC could also call an all-party meeting, sources said. The state is under President’s Rule.