Hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani has said that there was no threat to the annual Amarnath Yatra, scheduled to begin later this month, stressing that the pilgrims were "our revered guests", who would be received as per the age-old traditions.
"The terror threat to the upcoming yatra is a brazen lie and aimed at maligning the freedom movement. Kashmiris are not against any religion or its followers. However, they are pursuing a legitimate struggle for their fundamental rights," he said in a statement issued here late last night.
Geelani said the people of Kashmir, while continuing with the age-old tradition of providing the best hospitality to the pilgrims, have always been friendly and generous to the visitors, particularly the Amarnath yatris.
"The yatra has been going on for decades and the people here have treated the pilgrims with unique hospitality. They have always been hospitable, decent and received the pilgrims as their guests," he said.
The separatist leader assured the pilgrims that there was no threat to them and alleged that the reports of threat were the "adverse propaganda launched by the Indian media".
Referring to the situation prevailing in the Valley in 2008, 2010 and 2016, he said even in those circumstances, the people, despite restrictions, received the pilgrims with open arms and provided shelter and food to them.
"It is our age-old tradition and even in the future, we will follow this with the same spirit and receive the yatris as our revered guests," he said.
The yatra is scheduled to commence from July 29.