Amarnath Yatra suspended for a day on Wani's death anniversary
On the occasion of Burhan Wani's death anniversary, authorities have suspended the Amarnath Yatra today. The decision was also motivated by the deaths of three civilians in clashes with security forces in South Kashmir yesterday, an official said. No pilgrim was allowed from the Yatri Niwas base camp in Jammu today, but those already in Baltal and Pahalgam were allowed to proceed.
Wani, usherer of new style of militancy, was widely admired
Wani, a symbol of new-age militancy in Kashmir, was the leader of Hizbul Mujahideen when he was 22. He had ushered in a change in style: young militants began shedding their masks as Wani used social media extensively to radicalize youngsters. When he was killed on July 8, 2016, in a Kokernag encounter, thousands took to the streets to protest and launch attacks on the forces.
Suspension due to "not good" situation in Kashmir: DGP
On his death anniversary, separatists had called for a state-wide strike today. DGP Shesh Paul Vaid said the decision to suspend the yatra was taken in the wake of the "situation in Kashmir," which is "not good." "Our effort is to ensure safe yatra for the pilgrims. Tomorrow, there is a strike call and we have to stop the yatra," he said.
Last year's Anantnag attack came hours after lifting of ban
Notably, last year on July 10, terrorists attacked an Amarnath convoy in Anantnag killing eight, hours after a curfew on the occasion of Wani's death anniversary was lifted. Reports claimed the pilgrims' bus had flouted rules. Police later said it was carried out by LeT under mastermind Abu Ismail's supervision. The whole group of terrorists involved was "wiped out" by December, Vaid had said.
All you need to know about the Yatra
The 2018 Yatra, which began on June 28 and will end on August 26, has already seen at least 83,130 pilgrims. The security cover this time is the largest ever: police stations, posts, and check-points have been strengthened; bullet-proof SUV police convoys and scores of bullet-proof bunkers deployed; and forces are maintaining the "highest level of alertness." But bad weather has played spoilsport.