IMAGE: Amarnath pilgrims at a base camp after the yatra was suspended due to the third death anniversary of former Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani, at Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu, on Monday. Photograph: PTI Photo
The Amarnath yatra was suspended on Monday as a precautionary measure following a strike called by separatists in Kashmir valley to mark the third death anniversary of former Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani, officials said.
The annual pilgrimage to the 3,880 meter high holy cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas will resume on Tuesday, they said.
The officials said the Amarnath-bound convoy, which usually leaves the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu for Kashmir in the early hours, was not allowed to head for the cave shrine to avoid any untoward incident in view of law and order situation in the valley.
Wani, once a poster boy of militancy in the valley, was killed in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016, in Kokernag area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
“The yatra is suspended from Jammu for the day and will resume Tuesday,” a police official said.
So far, a total of 36,309 pilgrims have left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp since the commencement of the yatra from Jammu on June 30, a day ahead of the official start of the 46-day pilgrimage from the twin tracks — traditional 36-km Pahalgam in Anantnag district and 14-km shorter Baltal route in Ganderbal district.
Till Sunday night, 95,923 yatris had offered prayers at the cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice-shivlingam, since the beginning of the yatra, which is scheduled to end on August 15 coinciding with the Raksha Bandhan festival.
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