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Vishva Hindu Parishad cancels upcoming Budha Amarnath pilgrimage in J&K

The annual Amarnath yatra has already been suspended due to security reasons

Press Trust of India  |  Jammu 

Representative Image
Representative Image

The on Saturday announced cancellation of the upcoming annual Budha Amarnath yatra, citing threat posed by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists to the pilgrimage.

The 10-day yatra in Poonch district of Jammu region, organised by the VHP, was scheduled to begin on August 6.

"In view of the emerging security situation following the recovery of US made sniper rifle and landmine along the track in Kashmir, we have decided to cancel the yatra to Budha Amarnath for the safety of the pilgrims," State VHP president Leela Karan Sharma told reporters here.

The annual has already been suspended due to security reasons.

Sharma, who was flanked by several other senior leaders, including convenor Sohan Singh Solanki, said the decision to suspend the yatra was taken at a general meeting which was convened here to take stock of the situation.

Besides Budha Amarnath, the VHP has also decided to suspend the Kousar Nag yatra in Kulgam district of south Kashmir and the Machail yatra in Kishtwar district, Sharma said.

"We will not go for any confrontation with the government over its decision to suspend the Amarnath and Machail yatra... The safety of the pilgrims is our primary concern and in case anything bad happens here, it has serious repercussions across the country," Sharma said.

Solanki termed the suspension of the pilgrimages as "unfortunate" and said he had come here to take stock of the arrangements for the Budha which is being undertaken by the VHP with a special prayer on August 5 before the first darshan at the shrine next day.

"Over 25,000 pilgrims from across the country had registered themselves for the yatra and have been told to cancel their plan," he said, adding given the recovery of sophisticated weapon along the Amarnath yatra route and the intelligence input with the government that the Paksitan-sponsored terrorists are planning "something big", it was decided to cancel all the yatras.

He, however, said VHP international working president Alok Kumar is taking part in a special prayer here on August 5 and "with the permission of the administration, a limited number of pilgrims will offer their prayers at the Budha Amarnath shrine next day".

First Published: Sat, August 03 2019. 15:51 IST