Amarnath: Over one lakh perform darshan in eight days

Pilgrims dance and chant religious slogans after the Amarnath Yatra was suspended due to the third death anniversary of former Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, at Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu, Monday, July 8, 2019. PTI

Over one lakh pilgrims have paid obeisance at 3888-metre-high Amarnathji cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas in the first eight days of the annual yatra.

An official spokesperson said till Monday night, 111,655 pilgrims had offered prayers at the cave shrine. On the 9th day of the ongoing pilgrimage on Tuesday, thousands of more pilgrims were on way to the cave shrine to pay obeisance.

On Monday, authorities did not allow any convoy of pilgrims to leave Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu due to the strike in the Valley, marking the third death anniversary of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

However, early on Tuesday morning thousands of pilgrims chanting ‘Bam Bam Bhole’ started the journey from Jammu towards Kashmir.

On 10 July 2017, at least nine pilgrims were killed and 19 others were injured in an audacious attack on a bus carrying yatries in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. To ensure violence free yatra, the security top brass has ensured deployment of security forces in various layers while as pilgrims are being provided with wrist bands fitted with micro-chips.

The primary focus of the security forces is on highways—Srinagar-Jammu and Srinagar-Ganderbal to ensure smooth flow of vehicles ferrying pilgrims. The pilgrim vehicles are fitted with a RIFD chips that remain under the radars connected with respective control rooms, officials said.

The more elaborate measures for annual pilgrimage were taken after the direction passed by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who had asked the security agencies to “further tighten the security for the Yatra.” Shah was in Kashmir for two days from June 26 and chaired a series of security review meetings.

The 45-day long annual pilgrimage began simultaneously on Pahalgam and Baltal routes from July 1 and will conclude on Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan festivals on August 15.

Last year 2,85,006 lakh pilgrims had paid obeisance at the cave shrine, while the number of pilgrims was 3,52,771 in 2015, 3,20,490 in 2016 and 2,60,003 in 2017.

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