Amarnath pilgrims’ entry into Kashmir post 3.30 pm barred for security reasons

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Another batch of 6,400 pilgrims leaves from Jammu

STATE TIMES NEWS

BANIHAL/JAMMU: Pilgrims and tourists have been barred from crossing over to Kashmir from Banihal area of Ramban district after 3.30 pm, the cut-off time, due to security concerns, an officer said on Friday.
The measure has been taken by the police in view of unregistered Amarnath pilgrims travelling in the guise of tourists to the Valley, thereby causing security problems in view of heightened security threats, the officer said.
“Unregistered pilgrims, travelling without RIFD (radio-frequency identification) and devotees travelling in the guise of tourists will not be allowed to move to Kashmir from Navyug tunnel in (Banihal area) after cut-off time of 3.30 pm,” Ramban Superintendent of Police Mohita Sharma told reporters here.
For security reasons, vehicles of Amarnath pilgrims and tourists will not be allowed towards Kashmir after 1.30 pm at Chandrakot and after 3.30 pm from Banihal tunnel. However, trucks and other local traffic will ply as usual, she said.
The SP further said the pilgrims, who were stopped at Chandrakot after 1.30 pm, have been accommodated at Yatri Niwas in Chandrakot.
Replying to a question on restrictions for local traffic on the highway during the yatra, Sharma said they local vehicles, including those ferrying school students, employees and patients, are being allowed one by one.
Meanwhile, amid tight security, fresh batch of 6,400 pilgrims left from a base camp this morning in a secured convoy to perform pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath in south of Himalayas.
Chanting ‘Bam Bam Bhole’, the pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in a cavalcade of 265 vehicles early morning.
The 43-day long pilgrimage to the cave shrine will conclude on August 11 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
With today’s batch the number of the total pilgrims, who have left for Amarnath cave shrine from Jammu, goes up to 17,100, officials said.
Over 7,000 fresh pilgrims have arrived in Jammu from various places across the country for their onward journey to the shrine, they said. After on-the spot registeration at three counters and supply of tokens at two counters, they have been lodged in 32 lodging centres and base camps here.
The Yatra commenced on Thursday from the traditional 48-km Nunwan route in south Kashmir’s Pahalgam and the 14-km Baltal route in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal.
The pilgrimage is expected to see higher-than-usual attendance as it is being held after a gap of three years.
In 2019, the Yatra was cancelled midway ahead of the Centre abrogating Article 370 provisions of the Constitution. The pilgrimage did not take place in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.