Amarnath yatris see no threat on eve of Agra summit
14 July 2001
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU: Hundreds of Yatris who thronged the M A Stadium Base Camp today to leave for the darshan of Holy Cave tomorrow morning do not foresee any threat from the militants on the eve Agra summit between heads of Indo, Pak Governments. However, the Yatris reaching here from different corners of the country today admitted that large number of pilgrims who were scheduled to have pilgrimage from July 13 to 16 have postponed their programme apprehending sabotage by militants. Six members of our group have cancelled the programme as our yatra date coincided with the Agra summit between Prime Minister, Mr A B Vajpayee and Pak President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Dayanand a pilgrim from Manali, HP who with his other colleagues is all set to leave for the Holy Cave tomorrow morning. He said in our 12 member group, six have cancelled the programme as they apprehend threat from militants. "As per past experience militants always struck on such events killing the innocent people", he added. However, undeterred by any threat to his life the 60 year old Dayanand has surrendered every thing to Lord Shiva. "I do not forsee any threat to my life as nobody can harm you without the will of Lord, So why to worry, let us surrender ourselves in his lotus feet", he added. But the views of Tarun a young pilgrim from Jalandhar were a bit different who said "I will go for darshan, come what may". "Why should I be scared of militants attack on Gen’s visit, if I am a devout Hindu and believe in the philosophy of my religion." Ramesh Koul a displaced Kashmir Hindu who has come all the way from Delhi to have the darshan of Icy Lingam of Lord Shiva in the Cave Shrine also does not visualise any threat from militants on the eve of Agra summit. "I do not think the visit has to do any thing with Yatra", I miss Kashmir, my motherland badly and hence I can not lose this opportunity to visit the Holy Cave to have a glimpse of the scenic beauty of Valley", he added. Ramesh said after reaching the Holy Cave he will pray for the success of the Agra summit for return of peace and prosperity in the strife torn Kashmir valley. He urged every member of displaced community from Kashmir to have darshan of Lord Shiva enmass and pray for the return of the peace and normalcy in the Valley which has witnessed a lot of bloodshed over a decade now. Same views were expressed by Mukesh Kohli a young pilgrim from Delhi. "I do not think that Gen’s visit has any thing to do with Yatra as every body is fed up with the terrorism, he said,adding Pakistanis also want that Indo-Pak acrimony should end now and both nations should work for promotion of peace". The sole aim of my Yatra is to pray for the success of peace talks in the Cave Shrine, he said. However, the security has been further tightened for the Amarnath pilgrims on the eve of Agra summit and Gen Mushrraf’s visit. An official spokesman from Anantnag said that security forces have been asked to maintain extra vigil on Yatra route to frustrate any design of militants to sabotage the yatra. Musharraf’s visit and Agra summit is an important even and like the past experiences on such events militants have made the innocent people their safe target,he said, adding hence the Government is extra careful this time and it has sounded a total alert on the eve of the summit. He said the number of security forces have been increased on patrol duty and Army is doing the area domination while BSF has been deployed for road opening operation. The CRPF and JKP jawans have been entrusted the camp security at Nunwan, Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Panjtarni and Holy Cave. Meanwhile a fresh batch of 2,124 pilgrims left for the darshan of Holy Cave from M A Stadium, Base Camp today morning in 109 vehicles. These pilgrims include 1,619 male, 414 female, 31 children and 112 Sadhus. This is the lowest number of Yatris that left for darshan of the Holy Cave since the yatra started on July 2. Reports reaching from Anantnag said that all the pilgrims have reached the Nunwan Camp by the evening. Total 5,874 pilgrims have performed the darshan of the Icy Lingam in the Holy Cave yesterday. Among them 4,882 had come via Pahalgam track while 992 had come via Baltal track. The sky was partly overcast with clouds from Pahalgam to Holy Cave today. However, the track on both sides was open for darshan.