“Perhaps present situation in Kashmir has affected the amaranth yatra, but it is not the only reason for the drop in pilgrim footfall. The end days of the yatra often face drop in pilgrims, moreover Ice lingam of Lord Shiva has melted at the Amarnath cave shrine due to which decline is evident,”
Balwant Singh Bhau
Following steep fall in influx of pilgrims for Amarnath Yatra, administration here has decided to close down the token system, citing decline in the number of pilgrims.
The scheduled 48-day yatra remained under ambiguity over its completion and was subsequently hampered by the unrest in Kashmir valley in the backdrop of killing of HM commander-Burhan Wani on July 8. In a latest development, administration has closed down the token system, which was introduced to conduct hassle free and smooth yatra and unrest in Kashmir is the prime reason behind the move, however, the administration claimed it to be routine.
“Perhaps present situation in Kashmir has affected the amaranth yatra, but it is not the only reason for the drop in pilgrim footfall. The end days of the yatra often face drop in pilgrims, moreover Ice lingam of Lord Shiva has melted at the Amarnath cave shrine due to which decline is evident,” said an official.
Owing to deserted base camp at Bhagwati Nagar, administration was forced to close down token system and now onwards, who so ever wants to take this pilgrimage has to just register. “This base camp remained occupied with pilgrims in the beginning, but with the start of Kashmir unrest the number of pilgrims began to decline and now the situation is as such that we hardly see any pilgrim,” said official, adding “melting of ice lingam, besides unrest in Kashmir are the major reasons that pilgrims have canceled their registration.”
He further said that due to prevailing circumstances, many pilgrims left back from Jammu base camp without taking the pilgrimage. “The pilgrims are scared about the prevailing situation and the multiple breaks in the smooth conduct of Yatra also played major role to discourage yatra, wherein pilgrims believed that state government has failed to provide proper security cover to the yatra,” he said.
He added that in order to facilitate yatris during Amarnathji Yatra, a new token system was introduced in Jammu for providing hassle free on-spot registration facility at the counters. “Counters were setup for Yatris at Sangam Banquet Hall (SRTC Hall) near Jammu railway station to provide tokens along with registration form, medical form, information brochure and instruction manual, but now this system has been stopped,” he said.
Pertinently the spot registration counters were established at Vaishnavi Dham and Sarasvati Dham at Railway Station and Mahajan Sabha Community Hall near Ranbireshwar Temple at Shalamar road, but now because of the Kashmir unrest the administration has closed down the system.
Administration in view of sufficient availability of quota for spot registration of Amarnath yatris has decided to directly hold future registrations at Vaishnavi and Saraswati Dhams without requiring the tokens from Sangam Hall. The registration for Baltal route would be carried out in Saraswati Dham and the same for Pahalgam route will take place at Vaishnavi Dham.