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Traffic on Sgr-Jmu highway, Mughal road suspended for day

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Srinagar, Jul 08: Thousands of people including Amarnath pilgrims were left stranded today as authorities suspended traffic on Srinagar-Jammu national highway and Mughal road.

Director General of Police (DGP) S P Vaid had yesterday announced suspension of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra for the day today in view of the strike call given by separatists to mark the second death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

“No pilgrim was allowed to move from Bhagwati Nagar base camp and those who have arrived in the winter capital and heading for Kashmir on their own were also stopped at various places along the Srinagar-Jammu national highway,” a government official said.

He said the step was taken as a precautionary measure in view of the strike called by the separatists on the second death anniversary of Wani.

During a visit to Kathua district to review arrangements for Amarnath pilgrims yesterday, the police chief had announced suspension of the Yatra for the day and sought cooperation from the pilgrims.

“Security and facilitation of yatris is our top priority. My appeal to the pilgrims is that they should cooperate with us keeping in mind the (law and order) situation in the valley,” the DGP said.

The 60-day annual Yatra to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas began on June 28 and has faced many disruptions due to inclement weather. Till last evening, as many as 83,130 pilgrims had paid obeisance at the cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice-Shivlingam.

The officials said over 20,000 pilgrims who have reached here from various parts of the country to undertake the Yatra were left stranded for the past several days.

However, authorities say they have made adequate arrangements including boarding and lodging for them at various camps.

A traffic police official in the highway township of Ramban said over 2,000 tourists including pilgrims were stopped from proceeding to Kashmir from Jammu last evening.

“The traffic on highway was suspended due to situation in the valley. No vehicle was allowed to move from Jammu towards Srinagar since this morning,” he said.

The officer said government forces were deployed in strength in Banihal town along the highway, which also observed a shutdown in response to the separatists’ strike call.

A traffic spokesman said the traffic was also suspended on Mughal road, an alternate link connecting the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region with Shopian district in south Kashmir, as a precautionary measure.

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