National Conference vice-president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday said it was the “height of incompetence and laziness” that the Governor S P Malik-led administration required restriction on movement of civilian vehicles on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway for the security of Amarnath pilgrims. Taking to micro blogging website Twitter, Omar wrote, “It’s not that we are unconcerned about yatri security, far from it. It’s that the administration of Governor Malik is the only administration in 30 years that has required the closure of the highway/railway line to protect yatris & that’s the height of incompetence & laziness (sic).”
Omar said the governor’s administration was the only administration in 30 years that has required the closure of the highway.
Abdullah was responding to Malik’s remarks that the people of Kashmir should bear such restrictions as it was a matter of security of pilgrims.
Backing Omar, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said, Amarnath Yatra arrangements are against the people of Kashmir. “It's causing a lot of trouble in day-to-day lives of local people. I would like to request the Governor to intervene in this,” news agency ANI quoted her as saying.
The 46-day long annual Amarnath Yatra started on July 1 and will end on August 15 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima or Raksha Bandhan.
Over 1.5 lakh pilgrims from across the country have so far registered themselves for the 46-day long pilgrimage, which takes place from the 36-km Pahalgam track in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district and 14-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district.
The second batch comprising 4,417 pilgrims -- including 3,543 males, 843 females and 31 children -- left in a fleet of 142 vehicles from Bhagwati Nagar base camp for Pahalgam and Baltal.
Stringent security arrangements have been made for smooth conduct of the annual pilgrimage. "A robust security cover has been put in place for the yatra which includes satellite and chip-based tracking of vehicles and pilgrims. The deployment of forces is in various layers to ensure smooth conduct of the pilgrimage," the officials said.