Home > News > PTI
Large crowds throw Amarnath Yatra into disarray
Sameer Mahendru in Amarnath |
July 14, 2003 15:40 IST
Three days into the annual month-long Amarnath Yatra, unprecedented crowds have put the pilgrimage into disarray giving security forces a tough time in controlling the huge throng at the snow-clad cave.
Adding to the woes of the security forces are intelligence reports about possible militant attacks on the yatra. A major security grid has been set up at Pahalgam, the base camp of the pilgrimage, to tackle any such eventuality during the yatra.
"About 9,000 devotees are here right now as against the government plan to permit 3,500 pilgrims for Darshan of the holy shrine daily," said Vikram Singh Sahi, commandant of 86th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force.
An advisory has been sent to base camps at Pahalgam and Baltal to restrict the movement of the yatris to a manageable level, he told a PTI correspondent on the pilgrimage.
Matters came to head when security personnel had to use lathis to disperse the charged up crowd as the devotees started running on the snow-clad path leading up to the cave.
Even near zero degree temperature, hailstorms and rains could not deter the pilgrims.
Security personnel said this pilgrimage is similar to a single railway line without a loop and no train is allowed to move on the track till the previous train reaches the next station.
However, efforts to regulate the flow have been in vain as crowds tried to break through the barrier at Panchtarni to cover the last six km.
Sahi said many have had the prized Darshan of the holy Shiv Lingam on the very first day itself and on Purnima on July 13.