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Upendra Bharti | HENB | Jammu | May 6, 2017:: Pakistan’s ISI-trained Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists, who ambushed security convoys in Kashmir valley and martyred many Indian soldiers and security personnel during these days, had originally planned to attack spots along the National Highway to spread fear ahead of the Yearly Amarnath Yatra 2017.
“More than 100 fidayeen trained by the ISI and its proxy terror outfits are camping at launch pads along the Amarnath Yatra route, which is on top of the terror targets,” said sources, quoting terror intercepts.
Allied Military and Security agencies in J&K are trying to sanitize the pilgrimage routes and neutralize the terror situation for a happy and safe journey for the pilgrims on top priority.
The 2017 Amarnath Yatra is expected to witness over 3.00 lakh footfalls. Terrorist chatter, sources said, intensified about a month ago when some intel inputs on fighter concentration at terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) was shared with security forces. The fallout of an assault on the yatra could also foment communal tensions in Uttar Pradesh, in a polarized post-poll Hindutva scenario. But this time, the terrorists abruptly changed their plans, deciding instead to strike closer to their hideouts as security forces were closing in on their cells in the area. However, the numbers of Amarnath pilgrims are coming down in last three years as per record viz. total 3,72,909 pilgrims in 2014 (28-Jun-2014 to 10-Aug-2014); total 3,52,771 pilgrims in 2015 (02-Jul-2015 to 29-Aug-2015) and total 2,20,490 pilgrims in 2016 (02-Jul-2016 to 18–Aug-2016). It is significant that the BJP-PDP alliance Govt in J&K failed to restore any peaceful journey to the Amarnath pilgrimage.
In this year 2017, the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB)+, which conducts the annual pilgrimage to the shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, has issued advisories for the pilgrimage which involves a trek at an altitude of 14,000 feet.
High-altitude sickness is a problem that people may have to deal with while on the pilgrimage, which begins on June 29 and ends on August 7. The symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. If the ailment is not treated in time, it may lead to death in a matter of hours, one of the advisories said.
People who wish to trek to the Amarnath shrine in Jammu and Kashmir must furnish medical certificates, the authorities have said, adding that those below 13 or above 75 years of age will not be allowed to join the pilgrimage.
“Do prepare for the pilgrimage by achieving physical fitness – it is advisable to start a preparatory morning/ evening walk, about 4-5 km per day, at least a month prior to the pilgrimage,” it said.
Each pilgrim will need a pilgrimage permit, for which he or she will have to submit an application form and a compulsory health certificate (CHC).
The formats of the application form and CHC, as well as the list of doctors and medical institutions authorised to issue a CHC, are available on the SASB’s website http://www.shriamarnathjishrine.com.
For the registration, there are specified bank branches, which have been allotted a per day/per route quota for registering pilgrims, the advisory said.
The branch will ensure that the number of pilgrims registered does not exceed the allotted quota.
Another advisory specified that no one below 13 years or above 75 years and no woman more than six weeks pregnant will be registered for the pilgrimage.
The shrine board advised the pilgrims to start deep breathing exercise and Yoga, particularly ‘pranayam’ for improving the body’s oxygen levels.
“Don’t ignore the symptoms of high altitude illness, don’t drink alcohol, caffeinated drinks, or smoke,” it said.
The pilgrims were told to carry sufficient woollens as the temperature could abruptly fall to below five degree Celsius.
“Do carry an umbrella, wind-cheater, raincoat and waterproof shoes as the weather in the pilgrimage area is unpredictable,” it said, and advised pilgrims to keep clothes and eatables in waterproof bags to prevent them from getting wet.
Women pilgrims were told not to wear sarees but ‘salwar kameezes’, trousers and shirts or track suits.
Pilgrims will have a day of the week (Monday to Sunday) printed on their permit, and on this day they will be allowed to cross the access control gates at Baltal and Chandanwari in Pahalgam.
The registration official will issue a permit bearing the word BALTAL in capital letters for the Baltal route and PAHALGAM for the Pahalgam route, the advisory said.
The Amarnath shrine is situated at an altitude of 12,756 feet and is at a distance of 141 kilometres from Srinagar.
As a matter of fact, the yearly Amarnath Yatra connects Hindus in every part of India with the Kashmir valley, the abode of Amarnathji. Hindus are determined to retain their Hindu rights to offer prayers and take part in the Holy Amarnath Ji Yatra every year. Like previous years, actually from time immemorial, Hindu will reach Amarnath Cave in good numbers this year also.
Hindu Existence Forum wishes a Happy and Safe Yatra to all. Jai Baba Amarnath.
__Inputs from PTI and Agencies.