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JK Guv lauds people, security forces for peaceful yatra

Written by: Staff
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Amarnath Cave Shrine, Kashmir, Aug 9 (UNI) Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt Gen (Retd) S K Sinha lauded the people of the state and the security forces for the peaceful conduct of the two-month-long Amarnath pilgrimage which ended today.

Despite fever during the past three days, the Governor performed special prayers at the holy cave shrine of Amarnath on Raksha Bandhan day this morning marking the end of this year's pilgrimage which began on June 11.

He said the security forces, for the fourth consecutive year, had totally sanitised the mountainous track to the holy cave shrine from both shorter Baltal and traditional Pahalgam routes.

''The security forces did not allow the militants to disrupt the pilgrimage despite all their efforts. Intelligence reports had revealed that the ultras will make attempts to disrupt the pilgrimage,'' Gen Sinha added.

He said there were some militant attacks on the pilgrims in the Kashmir valley and also in Jammu. ''These, besides repeated attacks on tourists, acted as a deterrent,'' the Governor said, adding that still a large number of pilgrims had the glimpse of the ice Shivalingam (phallic symbol of Lord Shiva).

However, he said the reduced number of pilgrims compared to last year was much less than the tourist figure this year.

Gen Sinha lauded the people for their warmth and hospitality to pilgrims and also appreciated the role of various government agencies in providing facilities to the devotees.

He had a special praise for locals who kept available the 'puja' material enroute the holy cave shrine and provided logistic support.

The Governor, who is also the Chairman of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), prayed for peace in Jammu and Kashmir and the well being of the people.

Talking to journalists at the cave shrine, he recalled presence of a pair of pigeons, which he had seen for the first time at the commencement of the pilgrimage on June 11. ''This signifies the blessings of Lord Shiva.'' Gen Sinha said it was very heartening to note that a large number of pilgrims from states, NRIs and eminent religious leaders such as Bapu Murari and Ma Ragya paid obeisance at the holy cave shrine and had praised the arrangements made by the SASB.

''Immediately after the Pratham Pujan (first prayers), there were incessant rains and heavy snowfall for three consecutive days as about 2000 pilgrims got stranded at the Amarnath cave, but there was not even a single casualty as the Board had constructed prefabricated shelters,'' he added.

The Governor said during the inclement weather that forced suspension of the pilgrimage on several occasions, a number of helicopter sorties were undertaken to carry the pilgrims to safer destinations.

UNI AG PA HT1504

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