"The conflagration at Baltal due to clashes between two groups was the handiwork of mischievous elements, who had tried hard to damage the spirit of peace, cooperation and mutual harmony that is the hallmark of the Yatra," Jammu and Kashmir Minister of Forests Mian Altaf Ahmed and NC provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani said in a joint statement here.
Both the leaders condemned the "provocative behaviour by mischievous elements" and appealed for the maintenance of peace and calm. Commending the Yatra for being a symbol of peace and harmony, the leaders said, "The Amarnath Yatra is a testimony to the hospitality of Kashmiri men and women and there has never been and will never be a deviation from this tradition."
NC leaders also demanded the arrest of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Praveen Togadia for his "provocative" remarks on the incident and said the party would not allow communal elements to exploit the Baltal incident. The leaders also asked the administration to ensure that no inconvenience is caused to the pilgrims and the conduct of the Yatra is unhindered and smooth.