Yatra not an unusual affair: Bukhari

Yatra not an unusual affair: Bukhari

‘It is integral to Kashmir’s ethos’


SRINAGAR, June 29:: Apni Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Wednesday observed that the annual Amarnath Yatra should not be hyped in a manner that it is projected as an unusual affair in and outside Jammu and Kashmir.

Bukhari expressed his opinion in a meeting of heads of all Political Parties that was called by the Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha at Rajbhavan here. “Kashmir is among a few places in the world which is known for its rich culture and diversity of faiths. Despite all odds, this place has been able to retain its cultural diversity,” Bukhari remarked.

He said J&K’s people belonging to different religions have successfully coexisted which all along its history has increased its serenity and heritage. “Kashmir’s pluralistic ethos is all encompassing and Amarnath Yatra is part and parcel of the core of that historically significant value system,” Bukhari opined. 

He said Muslims in Kashmir have always extended help in making administrative arrangements for Amarnath pilgrims making their Yatra a symbol of communal harmony and an example of Kashmir’s rich and diverse cultural and religious ethos.

 “Muslims have pitched in with full heart as porters and helpers on the dangerous climb enroute to the holy cave, supporting Yatris in their effort to touch something that has metaphysical divinity for them,” he added.

Bukhari urged the government not to propagate this annual religious affair of J&K as an unusual activity that is like taking place for the first time in its history. “Nobody is averse to making foolproof security and other administrative arrangements for a hassle free journey of the pilgrims. But this Yatra should not be tackled in a way that has the potential to pitch one community against another,” he remarked. 

He also appealed to the government to take care of environmental concerns in order to safeguard the delicate ecosystem of the Himalayas. “Being a monumental exercise Yatra needs infrastructure and other prerequisites but there is a dire need to take precautionary measures to address the concerns of environmentalists of the country,” Bukhari observed.

He also put a word of caution for belittling the sanctity of this religious affair by analyzing it in terms of an economic activity. “The majority community in Kashmir is fully aware of the embedded economic dividends of such huge annual pilgrimage tourism. The administration needs to instill a sense of togetherness among all communities living enroute to the Holy cave. The orders to bar the movement of locals in that area are unwarranted and need to be rescinded,” he urged during the meeting.

2 militants killed in Kulgam

‘Encounter site was close to Yatra route’


SRINAGAR, Jun 29: Two locals militants affiliated with Lashker-e-Toiba outfit were killed in a gunfight between militants and security forces in Nawpora Mirbazar area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Wednesday

A senior police official said that acting on a specific input, joint team of police, Army and CRPF after receiving information about the presence of militants launched search operation in Nawpora area.

He said that as the joint team of forces intensified searches towards the suspected spot, the hiding militants fired upon the party, which retaliated, thus triggering an encounter. He said that during exchange of fire two local militants affiliated with LeT were killed and both were involved in several militancy related cases.

He identified the slain as Yasir Wani of Wangund, Qazigund and Rayees Ahmad of Chotipora, Shopian. Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir range, Vijay Kumar said that like the recent operation at Trubji, this operation was also important as the site of encounter was very close to the Yatra route.

“Both the killed militants have been identified as #categorised local militants of proscribed #terror outfit LeT. Again an important #encounter as the operation site was very close to NHW (#Yatra route).” Kashmir Police zone tweeted while quoting IGP Kashmir.

Meanwhile, police spokesman in a statement issued here said that acting on specific input regarding the presence of militants in Nowpora, Mir Bazaar area of Kulgam, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by Police, Army (9RR) in the said area. During the search operation, as the joint search party approached towards the suspected spot, the hiding militants fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party which retaliated effectively leading to an encounter. Later on CRPF (18Bn) also joined the operation.

“In the ensuing encounter, two local categorized militants of proscribed terror outfit LeT were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. They have been identified as Yasir Wani resident of Wangund, Kulgam and Raees Manzoor resident of Chotipora, Shopian,” the spokesman said.

“As per police records, both the killed militants were categorized and part of groups involved in several terror crime cases including attacks on Police/SF and civilian atrocities,” he said. IGP Kashmir congratulated the joint teams for conducting the operation in a professional manner without collateral damage. He also termed the operation as a big success as the operation site was very close to the National Highway (Yatra route).

“Incriminating materials, arms & ammunition including 01 AK-47 rifle and 01 Pistol were recovered from the site of encounter. All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation. In this regard, a case under relevant sections of law has been registered and investigation has been initiated. People are requested to cooperate with Police till the area at the encounter site is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials, if any,” the statement added.

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