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Amarnath yatra suspended in view of separatists' strike

Last updated on: July 08, 2019 20:26 IST

Jammu and Kashmir was on high alert Monday in view of the third death anniversary of Burhan Wani, once a poster boy of terrorist group Hizbul Mujahideen, as authorities suspended movement of Amarnath pilgrims and security forces convoys on the national highway for the day as a precautionary measure.

IMAGE: CRPF personnel stand guard during a strike called by separatist leaders on the third death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen's Burhan Wani. Photograph: S Irfan/PTI Photo

The Amarnath Yatra was put on hold following a strike called by separatist in the Kashmir valley to mark Wani's death anniversary, officials said, adding the annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine, situated at an altitude of 3,880 metre, in the south Kashmir Himalayas will resume on Tuesday.

 

The officials said the Amarnath-bound convoy, which usually leaves the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here for Kashmir in the early hours of the day, was not allowed to head for the cave shrine to avoid any untoward incident.

"The Yatra is suspended from Jammu for the day and will resume Tuesday," a police official said.

The authorities also suspended movement of security forces convoys for the day without assigning any reason. "No security forces convoy shall be allowed from both sides (Jammu and Srinagar) of the highway on Monday," a police spokesman said Sunday.

The government had to impose restrictions in parts of Srinagar as normal life came to a standstill in Kashmir due to the shutdown call by the separatists.

Restrictions were imposed in four police station areas of Nowhatta, Khanyar, Safakadal and Maharajgunj in Srinagar, they said.

Curbs were imposed as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order and avoid any untoward incident, the officials added.

Wani, once a poster boy of militancy in the Valley, was killed in an encounter with security forces on 8 July, 2016, in Kokernag area of south Kashmir's Anantnag district. His killing triggered massive protests and a prolonged period of curfews and shutdowns across the valley.

Over a period of more than four months, 85 people were killed and thousand others injured in clashes between security forces and protestors.

IMAGE: Amarnath pilgrims at a base camp after the yatra was suspended due to the third death anniversary of former Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani, at Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu, on Monday. Photograph: PTI Photo

The separatists, under the banner of the Joint Resistance Leadership, appealed people to observe a complete shutdown on Monday, and asked those living in Tral and adjoining areas to "pay tributes to every martyr in their vicinity" and take a pledge to carry the mission of the "martyrs" to its logical end.

Shops, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut across Srinagar, the officials said.
While public transport remained off the roads, a few private cars and auto-rickshaws were seen plying in some parts of the city. The officials said similar reports were received from other district headquarters of the valley.

Mobile internet services were suspended in the four south Kashmir districts -- Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama -- while internet speed was throttled in other areas of the valley, they added.

Security forces were deployed in strength at sensitive places across the Valley to avoid any untoward incident, while no movement of convoys of the armed forces was allowed on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the officials said.

On Sunday, Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said every step had been taken to ensure that the day passes off peacefully.

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