Amarnath yatra passes off peacefully

Nearly four lakh pilgrims paid obeisance to Lord Shiva at the cave shrine

 
A pilgrim arrives on a Palki at the holy cave shrine of Amarnath on Tuesday. PTINearly four lakh pilgrims were assisted by dog squads and armed forces equipped with state-of-the-art gadgets in providing multi-layered security during their arduous trekking in hostile terrain to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva at the cave shrine of Amarnath located at a height of 3,880 metres in the Himalayas.

“There have been threats from militants, including the (Pakistan-based) Lashkar-e-Taiba, to disrupt the yatra. But we successfully foiled all attempts of the militants to target the pilgrims,” CRPF Deputy Inspector General (operations), South Kashmir, Nalin Prabhat told a visiting group of journalists.

The conclusion of the yatra was marked by a group of devotees carrying the mace of Lord Shiva to the cave shrine.

The mace, popularly known as Chhari Mubarak, is carried every year from its abode Dashnami Akhara in Srinagar to the Amarnath shrine during the annual pilgrimage for
special prayers.

The prayers were led by Mahant Dipender Giri, the custodian of the holy mace. After the prayers, the Chhari Mubarak started its return journey and is expected to reach Pahalgam on August 7 where special prayers would be offered before it is taken back to Dashnami Akhara, sources said.

In the past, the pilgrims were attacked several times. The state government had blamed militants for the attacks.

But the militants had accused the security agencies for it to “defame” them.
Over 32 pilgrims were killed in such an attack in 2000 at Nunwan- Pahalgam.

This year the rough weather delayed the start of the yatra. After weeks of delay, the pilgrimage started from the Baltal route.

After sometime, even the traditional route through Pahalgam was thrown open.

“We are happy that the pilgrimage ended peacefully. This can send a message across the country that Kashmiris are peace-loving and very hospitable,” said Mohammad
Subhan, a shopkeeper.

Ghulam Mohammad, a police officer, said the peaceful yatra is in the best interests of the people of the state.

“Any  bad incident here damages the image of the state in other states,” he said.

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