Barely four days ahead of the commencement of the Amarnath Yatra, the Indian Army announced that terrorists were trying to target the pilgrimage around National Highway 44 near Srinagar.
The Army on Friday said that they have intelligence inputs that suggest terrorists are trying to target the Yatra, adding that the forces have systems in place to make sure the annual pilgrimage is conducted on peacefully.
Brigadier VS Thakur, Commander of the 9 Rashtriya Rifles sector, said that the Yatra will be conducted peacefully without any hindrance.
This axis is a bit sensitive. The yatris will take up this axis to go up to Sonamarg (Ganderbal) and this (Baltal) is the only route which will be active to go up to the Amarnath caveBrigadier VS Thakur
The 48-day July–August annual Hindu pilgrimage, undertaken by up to 600,000 or more pilgrims to the 130 feet (40 m)-high glacial Amarnath cave shrine of iced stalagmite Shiv linga at 12,756 feet (3,888 m) in the Himalayas, is called Amarnath Yatra. It begins with a 43 kilometers (27 mi) mountainous trek from the Nunwan and Chandanwari base camps at Pahalgam and reaches the cave-shine after night halts at Sheshnag Lake and Panchtarni camps.[
This year’s annual Amarnath Yatra to the Himalayan cave shrine in Jammu and Kashmir will be for 15 days, in view of the spread of COVID-19 pandemic across the globe instead of the normal duration of 43 days.
Reports suggest that the Amarnath Yatra is likely to start on June 21 till August 3rd. “Yatra will be allowed only through shortest Baltal route (Central Kashmir) this time and no pilgrim will be allowed to undertake this year’s Yatra through the traditional Pahalgam – Chandanwari track (South Kashmir).”
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will on Saturday visit the Amarnath temple in Jammu and Kashmir despite the terror threats. He is on a two-day visit to J&K and Ladakh to take stock of military preparedness in the region.
Previous Attacks on Amarnath Yatra:
- On 2 August 2000, Hizbul Mujahideen massacred at least 32 people and injured at least 60 people in a two-hour-long indiscriminate shoot out at Nunwan base camp in Anantnag district, causing the death of 21 unarmed Hindu pilgrims and 7 unarmed Muslim shopkeepers, and 3 security force officers.
- On 20 July 2001, a terrorist threw two grenades and fired indiscriminately on a pilgrim night camp at Sheshnag Lake en route Amarnath shrine, killing at least 13 and injured another 15 people. Those killed included 5 unarmed Hindu male pilgrims, 3 unarmed Hindu female pilgrims, 3 unarmed Muslim civilians providing support services to pilgrims, and 2 security officials.
- On 6 August 2002, terrorists from al-Mansuriyan, a front group of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, massacred 9 pilgrims and injured 30 near Nunwan pilgrimage base camp.
- On 10 July 2017, the first Monday of the month of Shraavana, 8 Hindu civilian pilgrims on the way from Amarnath Temple in Kashmir Valley, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir were killed in a terror attack. The pilgrims mostly belonged to the Indian state of Gujarat. Seven people were killed and at least 18 people were injured in the attack.