Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said the security arrangements made for the ongoing Amarnath Yatra were “against the people of Kashmir”, but Governor Satya Pal Malik defended the measures, citing the Pulwama terror attack.
Mufti, the president of the PDP, said the arrangements made for the annual Yatra are causing inconvenience to the people of Kashmir. “Amarnath Yatra has been taking place for years. But, the arrangements made this year are against the people of Kashmir. I request the Governor to intervene in this matter,” she told reporters.
“Yatra signifies brotherhood. This year, the arrangements are done to trouble the locals. They cannot use the highway even in emergencies… they are forced to wait for Yatris to pass.”
She was referring to the curbs imposed on movement of civilian traffic for two hours on certain parts of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway for the movement of Amarnath Yatris in convoys.
The Governor, on the other hand, defended the restrictions while saying that the duration has been reduced to two hours daily. “You know what happened on the highway February 14. The restrictions are necessary for the safety of the pilgrims,” he said.
Malik was referring to the incident in which a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into a CRPF convoy on the highway in Pulwama, killing 40 personnel of the paramilitary force. The 45-day long Amarnath Yatra started on July 8 and will end August 15.
Thanks to extraordinary security arrangements made for the safety of the Yatris, the Hindu pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine has been continuing without any untoward incident so far. The state is currently under President’s Rule.