Abdullah’s statement come just a day after the government in an unprecedented move cut short the Amarnath Yatra citing terror threats. An advisory that was issued by the state Home Department asking people to take “necessary measures to return as soon as possible” sent a wave of frenzy among hundreds of pilgrims, tourists and residents.
The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Saturday also announced the cancellation of the upcoming annual Budha Amarnath yatra, citing threats posed by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists to the pilgrimage. The 10-day yatra in Poonch district of Jammu region, organised by the VHP, was scheduled to begin on August 6.
“In view of the emerging security situation following the recovery of a US-made sniper rifle and landmines along the Amarnath yatra track in Kashmir, we have decided to cancel the yatra to Budha Amarnath for the safety of the pilgrims,” said state VHP president Leela Karan Sharma.
On Saturday, the last batch of 363 Amarnath pilgrims were shifted from the Baltal route to Jammu even as the government suspended the Machail Mata Yatra in Kishtwar and stopped devotees at Udhampur.
Meanwhile, Indian Air Force’s Lockheed Martin C-130s on Saturday morning reportedly brought in additional troops. News18.com had on Friday reported that an additional 25,000 troops have been called in to the Valley although the Central Reserve Police Force denied such reports.
Then in another unexpected move, the state police withdrew security from a number of shrines, mosques and even some courts.
The deployment has given rise to apprehension about the abrogation of the contentious Article 35A. Justifying their decision to call in 100 additional companies last week, the Home Ministry on Friday had said that deployment of paramilitary forces in the state was based on the security situation there and requirements of rotation.