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Rediff.com  » News » Photos: Amarnath yatra resumes after Baltel clashes

Photos: Amarnath yatra resumes after Baltel clashes

July 19, 2014 14:52 IST

Photos: Amarnath yatra resumes after Baltel clashes

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar

The yatra to the Holy cave shrine of Amarnath resumed on Saturday morning from north Kashmir’s Baltel route after remaining suspended on Friday.

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Image: Pilgrims proceed towards the Holy Amarnath shrine from Baltel route on Saturday
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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The yatra was suspended on Friday following clashes at the Baltel base camp which left several persons wounded.

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Image: Pilgrims proceed towards the Holy Amarnath shrine from Baltel route on Saturday
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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Photos: Amarnath yatra resumes after Baltel clashes

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The clash had erupted after an altercation erupted between a local labourer and a group of people running the community kitchen at the base camp.

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Image: Pilgrims proceed towards the Holy Amarnath shrine from Baltel route on Saturday
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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Photos: Amarnath yatra resumes after Baltel clashes

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The altercation snowballed into clashes between the labourers, shopkeepers and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force leaving nearly two dozen persons wounded.

Some tents at the base camp were also torched.

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Image: A view of the Holy 'shivlinga' inside Amarnath cave
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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Photos: Amarnath yatra resumes after Baltel clashes

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The situation was, however, normalised with the intervention of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board and Jammu and Kashmir government officers.

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Image: Pilgrims proceed towards the Holy Amarnath shrine from Baltel route on Saturday
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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A senior officer of the SASB, which manages the yatra, said 1,500 pilgrims left for the cave shrine on Saturday morning from Baltel.

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Image: Security personnel assist the pilgrims proceeding towards the Holy Amarnath cave on Saturday
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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“Another 4,000 yatris will be allowed to proceed to the cave shrine on Saturday as a special case. These yatris couldn’t reach the base camp on Friday because of the situation at Baltel,” chief executive officer of the SASB, Rakesh Kumar Gupta, told Rediff.com.

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Image: Pilgrims proceed towards the Holy Amarnath shrine from Baltel route on Saturday
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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Photos: Amarnath yatra resumes after Baltel clashes

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Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra had on Friday directed Gupta to proceed to Baltel and see that ‘harmony is fully restored with the help of district administration’.

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Image: Local labourers seen clearing snow en route the Holy Amarnath cave
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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The 44-day yatra began on June 28 and so far 2,76,573 pilgrims have paid obeisance at the Holy cave.

Authorities have made elaborate arrangements for the pilgrims despite presence of heavy snow along the south and north Kashmir treks.

Elaborate security arrangements are in place on the yatra routes.

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Image: Security personnel guard the hills as pilgrims proceed to the Holy Amarnath cave from Baltel route on Saturday
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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“We have been coming here for the past many years and we will continue to join the pilgrimage year after year till we are alive. The local support to the yatra is a must and they have been supporting its conduct throughout,” said Pawan Kumar, a pilgrim from Punjab.

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Image: Pilgrims proceed towards the Holy Amarnath shrine from Baltel route on Saturday
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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Majority of the pilgrims prefer the Baltel route as it takes lesser time for the pilgrimage than south Kashmir’s Pahalgam route.

A good number of yatris are using the helicopter service available from the Baltel route to reach the cave shrine.


Image: Pilgrims proceed towards the Holy Amarnath shrine from Baltel route on Saturday
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com

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