‘Amarnath pilgrimage will be on schedule’

Jammu, June 29 (Calcutta Tube) Despite a law and order scare in Kashmir, especially on both the routes leading to the Amarnath cave shrine, the authorities in Jammu were determined to flag off the first batch of pilgrims from here Wednesday morning.

The first batch of the pilgrims is expected to reach the shrine, located at a height of 13,500 feet Thursday.

‘There are sufficient arrangements for safety and security of the pilgrims. They have nothing to fear,’ said Jammu Divisional Commissioner Pawan Kotwal, the provincial head of the civil administration in the region.

Concerns were raised over the safety of the pilgrims following recent trouble in the Valley, particularly in Kashmir’s Anantnag district, through which the traditional route of the pilgrimage, via Pahalgam and Chandanwari, passes.

There is curfew in parts of Srinagar, through which the shorter and steeper route leads to the shrine.

Kotwal said that the pilgrims will be ‘escorted by the police and paramilitary forces along the route as also at their camps.’

The authorities have deployed 50 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force and police for the safety of the pilgrims.

Pilgrims have to cover more than 250 km of road journey from Jammu on the national highway, the only surface link to the Valley with rest of the country, if they choose Pahalgam route.

Those intending to go via Baltal have to cover 294 km on the highway.

Tens of thousands make it every year to the Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir, dedicated to Lord Shiva.

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