Kashmir: Tourists, yatris told to leave

After the latest intelligence inputs of a terror threat, with specific targeting of the Amarnath Yatra, and given the prevailing security situation in the Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Kashmir government asked pilgrims and tourists to curtail their stay in the Valley immediately and take necessary measures to return as soon as possible.

The advisory has been issued by principal secretary of the J&K home department Shaleen Kabra.

The home department said that the order was issued keeping in view the latest intelligence inputs of terror threats and to avoid a repetition of the 2017 Amarnath attack .

The advisory comes hours after a joint press conference by Chinar Corps Commander Lt General KJS Dhillon and J&K DGP Dilbag Singh at Srinagar, where they said that the Pakistan Army is desperate to disrupt the peace in Kashmir Valley and that there was a massive threat of IEDs in Kashmir.

Dhillon added that extensive searches are being conducted along all the routes leading to the Amarnath cave as there is strong intelligence that Pakistani terrorists might attack the yatra.

Immediately after the government order, registrations for Amarnath Yatra have been stopped in the northern state.

The intelligence report said that Jaish and Lashker-e-Toiba terrorists might target security forces and the Amarnath Yatra convoy on the national highway in South Kashmir.

“Although this unprecedented order would seem to suggest a genuine fear of a massive terror strike directed at Amarnath ji yatris or/ and tourists this will do nothing to dampen the sense of fear & foreboding that prevails in the valley at the moment (sic),” former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said on Twitter.

“Seriously? You think an official order telling tourists to leave immediately will not cause them to run from the valley as fast as they can? Which tourist will hang around after seeing this order? The airport & highway will be choked with people leaving (sic),” Omar tweeted replying to a comment.

After the advisory was released, police stations in the state called up hotel and houseboat management, asking them to immediately shift tourists to safer places. In Gulmarg and Pahalgam, local police and security forces also helped tourists to leave for Srinagar.

Apart from tourists and Amarnath yatris, non-local are also leaving the Valley. Around 8 lakh non locals stay in the Valley.

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