You're our guests, won't attack you: Hizbul assures Amarnath pilgrims
A year after a deadly terrorist attack on Amarnath pilgrims killed eight, Hizbul Mujahideen has assured Yatris a safe passage this time, saying it has no plans of attacking the pilgrimage. "You don't need any security as you are our guests," Operational Commander Riyaz Ahmad Naikoo Naikoo is heard saying in the purported 15-minute Hizbul video. The two-month-long pilgrimage begins tomorrow.
'Our war against Indian state, not against people of India'
"Our fight is with those who're committing atrocities on our people and who forced us to pick up guns," the statement added. "They (yatris) are coming here to fulfill their religious obligations. Our fight is not with the yatris." Claims of security forces that terrorists are planning an attack are baseless, it said. "We will never attack them."
This Yatra has the largest ever security cover
Incidentally, this time, the Yatra has been given the largest ever security cover: all border police stations, posts, and check-points have been strengthened; vehicles with electromagnetic chips, bullet-proof SUV police convoys and scores of bullet-proof bunkers have been deployed; and forces are maintaining the "highest level of alertness." Night patrolling on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway will be conducted regularly.
All you need to know about the Yatra
The Yatra will begin tomorrow from Pahalgam in South Kashmir and Baltal in Central Kashmir, and will end on August 26. Everyone must have a Yatra permit, valid for a particular period and route. Travelers can register at select branches of PNB, J&K Bank and YES Bank. Helicopters are available too. It is advisable for pilgrims to carry winter clothes, raincoats/umbrellas and waterproof shoes.
About last year's deadly attack
Last year on July 10, eight people were killed when an Amarnath convoy was attacked by terrorists in Anantnag. Reports claimed the pilgrims' bus had flouted rules. It didn't have a number plate either. 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, DGP SP Vaid had said.