The police on Sunday detained 53 Bajrang Dal activists after foiling their bid to move towards Baltal base camp of Amarnath cave shrine in Kashmir, ahead of the commencement of the annual pilgrimage in June.
Flagged off by Vishwa Hindu Parishad state chief Rama Kant Dubey from Jammu city, a group of 150 members boarded two buses and left for Kashmir Valley. They were intercepted by the police on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway at Jajjarkotli, 35 km from Jammu.
"Fifty three activists of the Bajrang Dal were detained and they have been taken to District Police Lines Jammu," the police said, adding that the magistrate ordered their release later.
But the Bajrang Dal members have refused to leave DPL and are demanding that they be allowed to move to Kashmir to carry out 'kar seva' (volunteer work) there.
"We had flagged off a team of 150 activists to Baltal base," Dubey told reporters.
He said the team wanted to take part in snow clearance operations to facilitate smooth commencement of the pilgrimage. He criticised the authorities for detaining Bajrang Dal activists.
"They were not breaking any law by going to Kashmir to carry out the kar seva for Amarnath yatra there," Dubey t said.
He criticised the Amarnath Shrine Board's decision to reduce the number of days of the yatra for climatic reasons.
Various Hindu organisations including the VHP are demanding that the Amarnath Yatra should start from June 4.