Pilgrims stopped at Baltal in view of tense situation on Kashmir highway

Pilgrims, who had returned after paying obeisance at the holy cave shrine, have been stopped at Baltal base camp for security reasons in view of the tense situation following death of a youth and injuries to another when security guard of Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Ramban, opened fire at Lethpora on Srinagar-Jammu national highway last night. ”We did not allow any pilgrim to leave Baltal base camp for security reasons as there were massive protests on the highway at Lehtpora,” official sources said. They said similarly all pilgrims who were on way to Baltal and Nunwan Pahalgam base camps from Jammu have been stopped across the Jawahar tunnel. Source said since July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Burhan Wani and two other militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in Anantnag district, evoking massive protests across the valley, it was decided that all vehicles carrying pilgrims will ply during the night to avoid any demonstrations. However, before the vehicles, carrying pilgrims could leave Baltal base camp, a message was received that there are massive protests on Highway at Lethpora, where a youth Farooq Ahmad Kuchay was killled and another Suhail Ahmad Wani was critically wounded when guard of ADC, Ramban, opened fire to disperse people who had blocked the road. People were protesting against the security forces and state police who had earlier beat up locals, damaged houses and parked vehicles in the area. Sources said all vehicles, also carrying pilgrims from Jammu to Baltal and Nunwan Pahalgam base camps have been stopped on other side of the Jawahar tunnel since there was tense situation. People alongwith the body of Farooq were protesting on the highway at Lethpora throughtout the night. They said there are adquate arrangment for the yatris at Baltal and Pahalgam base camps and they will be allowed to proceed towards Jammu as and when situation improves.

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