Travel Warning: Terror Threats Impact Travel To Amarnath
On Friday, the Jammu & Kashmir government released a notice for all tourists to immediately cut short their stay in the valley. The notice was released in light of intelligence inputs stating ‘terror threats’ to the pilgrims. A security advisory has been issued by the Principal Secretary (Home) asking pilgrims to “return as soon as possible” and “curtail their stay.” 363 pilgrims who embarked on the yatra from Baltal have been shifted to Jammu.
The notice states, “Keeping in view of the latest intelligence inputs of terror threats, with specific targeting of the Amarnath Yatra, and given the prevailing security situation in the Kashmir Valley, in the interest of safety and security of tourists and Amarnath Yatris, it is advised that they may curtail their stay in the Valley immediately and take necessary measures to return as soon as possible.” According to the Indian Army, the Pakistani Army and terrorists are desperate to disrupt peace in J K and may attempt an attack on the Amarnath Yatra.
According to Lt. Gen. KJS Dhillon, a cache of arms seized on one of the routes of Amarnath Yatra comprised of a US M-24 sniper rifle and a Pakistan ordinance factory marked landmine. On Thursday, the government ordered an additional 25,000 security personnel to move to the valley. Flights from Srinagar were sold out immediately and the airfare has gone up drastically. Airlines have waived off cancellation and rescheduling charges for a certain period.
Yet, the explanation of an ‘impending security threat’ is unable to subdue the speculation about the extraordinary troop mobilization in Kashmir, coinciding with the visit by Army Chief Bipin Rawat and NSA Ajit Doval. The troop mobilization sparked speculations about the scrapping of Article 35-A, which was promised in the BJP manifesto. To this, Omar Abdullah responded, “We have no idea what is happening. So a delegation in which I was there too met the governor and we asked him why this is happening. We also asked him about rumours of Article 35A and Article 370 being removed... to which he assured that no such thing is happening.”
With the last 363 pilgrims moved out of Amarnath early on Saturday, let us know what do you think of these rising security issues in the comments below.
*Both the images in the cover photo are taken from Shutterstock and India Today respectively.