Nearly 300 Hindu activists were detained here on Sunday when they attempted to begin a pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine.

The Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) has said that it will organise the pilgrimage from June 25 to August 2. But Hindu groups want the pilgrimage to last 60 days starting June 3. The activists were detained for violating prohibitory orders, a police official told journalists.

Led by the Jammu unit chief of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Rama Kant Dubey, the activists tried to breach the police cordon to go to the shrine in south Kashmir.

Criticising the police action, Mr. Dubey said, “the State government is denying us our religious rights.”

A SASB spokesperson pointed out that the route to the shrine was buried under deep snow. “The government would not risk the lives of pilgrims by allowing them to proceed under hostile weather conditions.” he said. Governor N.N. Vohra, who heads the SASB, conducted an aerial survey of the area on Friday and found that the mouth of the cave shrine was blocked by heavy snow, he added.