Srinagar: Uncertainty continued over annual pilgrimage to Holy Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas, which was to start from June 28 while all shrines, major mosques and other religious places remained closed due to second wave of COVID-19.
Last year, the yatra was suspended for similar reasons due to first wave lockdown across the country, including Jammu and Kashmir. However, in 2019 the annual pilgrimage was to cut short and yatris were asked to leave the valley as strict curfew restrictions were imposed when centre abrogated Article 370 and 35 A besides dividing the state into two Union Territories (UTs) on August 5, 2019.
Majority leaders of almost all mainstream political parties, barring BJP, including three former chief ministers Dr Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were detained and communication network snapped in the union territory.
There is still no firm word from the centre about this year’s yatra to Amarnath cave shrine, situated at 14000 feet, which is accessible from shortest Baltal route and traditional Pahalgam route, official sources said.
However, they said, the meeting between Union Home Minister Amit Shah and J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha at New Delhi on Sunday among security and other things also discussed the Amarnath yatra.
It was not immediately clear if any decision was taken about the yatra as COVID positive cases and deaths due to virus continued in Jammu and Kashmir, where authorities have now started easing corona curfew in a phased manner to avoid further surge in positive cases.
Former CM and president of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti said the decision to allow the yatra will be taken by the centre. They (Centre) never consulted or took into confidence people of Jammu and Kashmir on any issue but announce the decision unilaterally, she alleged.
If they want they can allow yatra without caring for the people, she said adding how they (centre) allowed Maha Kumbh Shahi Snan without caring the advice by experts with the results lakhs were infected and thousands died due to virus. Similarly in the decision on the yatra taken by the centre people of J&K have no role, she said.