Interacting with pilgrims, JKLF chief Yaseen Malik assures them of best hospitality

The month-long Amarnath yatra is on in full swing with thousands of pilgrims headed for the holy cave to have darshan of the Shiv Lingam. So far, 35,000 people have had darshan. However, two pilgrims died following cardiac arrest, according to official sources.

The yatra began from the Baltal as well as Pahalgam base camp on Wednesday with Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra performing pooja at the cave temple along with his wife Usha Vohra and top officials. Mr. Vohra also heads Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), which oversees pilgrimage arrangements. Ministers Mian Altaf Ahmad, Nawang Rigzin Jora and Nasir Aslam Wani from Baltal and Pahalgam flagged off a helicopter service to the cave.

The Governor, who reviewed the arrangements, expressed satisfaction over the support extended by the State government, the Army, the police and Central paramilitary forces.

On Thursday, around 2,200 pilgrims began their journey from Jammu. SASB Chief Executive Officer R.K. Goyal told The Hindu that tents and other accommodation were being provided at Baltal and Pahalgam. Water, sanitation, healthcare and power supply had been ensured. BSNL was providing uninterrupted cellular services.

Pilgrims are happy with the arrangements and lauded local Muslims for their co-operation. “Arrangements are good and the local population is very supportive,” said Pramod Kumar from Mumbai.

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yaseen Malik also visited Baltal and interacted with devotees. He assured them of the best hospitality and peaceful environment for their pilgrimage. “The tradition of communal harmony and brotherhood is an example in itself in Kashmir. We are at your disposal whenever you need us. Kashmir is a safe place and non-Muslim brothers should not lend their ears to propaganda unleashed by some political parties,” Mr. Malik told them.

The JKLF leader said the Kashmir struggle was not against the people of India but against the Government of India for “denying political rights to the people of Kashmir.” He urged the pilgrims to act as ambassadors of Kashmir and highlight the plight of Kashmiris and present a true picture of Kashmir.