Two high-profile events have exited from Srinagar in the past one-week due to prevailing security conditions and logistical issues. A senior government official said the events were “postponed” due to security forces and resources being reserved for the forthcoming Amarnath Yatra, which will commence on June 30 and conclude on August 11.
Earlier, a film festival that was to be organised by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry from June 15 in Srinagar was cancelled. The second event, a Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting scheduled to be held from June 28-29 in Srinagar, has now been moved to Chandigarh. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and finance and revenue ministers of States in the GST Council, were to converge in Srinagar for the 47th Council meeting.
Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar said the GST council meeting clashes with the Amarnath Yatra that begins on June 30. “The Yatris (pilgrims) will start arriving from June 29. Since all security personnel will be engaged in management of yatra, we have advised the government not to allow other such functions,” Mr. Kumar said.
8 lakh pilgrims expected
“The Yatris (pilgrims) will start arriving from June 29. Since all security personnel will be engaged in management of yatra, we have advised the government not to allow other such functions”Vijay KumarInspector General of Police (Kashmir)
He assured the counter-terror operations in the State will not stop during the Yatra. Security forces have killed 118 terrorists so far this year, of which 28 happened in June alone.
The J&K administration and police have been asked to brace up for around 8 lakh pilgrims for the Yatra to the holy shrine in South Kashmir. This year, the Yatra is being organised after a gap of two years.
A government official said the film festival that was supposed to take place earlier this week too had got cancelled on the request of the J&K administration. It was after more than 35 years that the I&B ministry was planning to organise a film festival in Srinagar. However, a senior J&K government official said, “The film festival has not been cancelled. It has only been postponed and will be held after a few days. The entire focus of the administration is now on conducting the Amarnath Yatra.”
The Union Government and the J&K government are taking all steps to organise the Amarnath Yatra on a grand scale this year to project the overall improvement on the security front in the Union Territory post-August 2019. The recent killing of civilians and Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus have also led to deployment of additional forces for the Yatra that will bring in pilgrims from across the country.
“We have started chopper services; pilgrims can complete the Yatra and fly back to Delhi or Mumbai the same day. Special attention is being made to preserve the cleanliness across the Yatra route,” said the official.