9,400 Tourists And Pilgrims Evacuated From Kashmir Valley

9,400 Tourists And Pilgrims Evacuated From Kashmir Valley
Representational Image : Devotees at the Amarnath Yatra , Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Thousands of pilgrims were evacuated from Kashmir after the Amarnath Yatra was called off. Tourists have also been issued travel advisory 'against' visiting Kashmir

Gandharv Kamala
August 04 , 2019
02 Min Read

Ever since the circular signed by Shaleen Kabra, Principal Secretary to Government (Home Department) cautioned, “In the interest of safety and security of the tourists and Amarnath yatris, it is advised that they may curtail their stay in the valley immediately and take necessary measures to return as soon as possible”, the valley has gone into a state of chaos and panic.

According to a highly placed source in the Jammu and Kashmir police ranks, as many as 9,400 tourists—2,956 by air were evacuated from the valley. This is the first time that the yatra has been called off, pilgrims evacuated and outsiders are being asked to vacate the state. The yatra survived a terrorist attack in the year 2017 and yet it went on unabated, however with stricter security measures in place. 

“We have evacuated all the pilgrims undertaking the Amarnath Yatra using choppers. Pilgrims were brought to Srinagar airport, either via air or by road. They have been sent back using Indian Air Force carriers or commercial flights. Airlines such as Vistara and Air India provided rescheduled tickets at no extra cost. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has asked the airlines to rein in the surge in airfares to help the Amarnath pilgrims get home,” the Additional Deputy General Police of Kashmir Muneer Ahmed Khan told OT.  

“For those who did not have flight tickets, Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation organised special buses to take tourists and yatris out of Kashmir,” the ADGP added.  

While the fares for Indigo and Air Asia, Srinagar-Delhi flights started from Rs 40,000 for August 4, Air India has decided to cap the fare at Rs 6,715 from Srinagar to Delhi and Rs 6,899 from Delhi to Srinagar till August 15. OT has also learnt that the Indian Railways is also contemplating waving off cancellation charges for passengers travelling from Jammu and Kashmir for the next 48 hours.

Explaining the ground situation, in an interaction with OT  from Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, the Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar said, “We had not expected the yatra to be called off. Once the circular was out, there was a lot of confusion among people. The locals thronged petrol pumps. National Institute of Technology, Srinagar also asked non-residents to vacate premises until further notice. We are doing everything in our control to bring back normalcy to the region." 

In the light of the events, Unitdd Kingdom, Germany, and Australian governments have issued travel advisory suggesting to not visit thevalley in the near future. They have also asked the citizens to vacate the valeey at the earliest.

The highly placed source in the Jammu and Kashmir police ended the conversation suggesting, "It's better to avoid visiting Kashmir till August 15."


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