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Kashmir panics as govt asks Amarnath pilgrims, tourists to leave Valley

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Srinagar, Aug 02: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday asked Amarnath Yatris and tourists to immediately make necessary arrangements to cut short their stay in the Valley and return as soon as possible in the wake of intelligence inputs of “specific threats” to the pilgrimage.

The Principal Secretary (Home) issued a security advisory, saying pilgrims and tourists “may curtail their stay” and “return as soon as possible”.

“Keeping in view the latest intelligence inputs of terror threats, with specific targeting of the Amarnath Yatra, and given the prevailing security situation in the Kashmir Valley, 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,” it said.

Already on the edge for the past few days, panic intensified in Kashmir today in the wake of the order from the government asking the tourists and Amarnath pilgrims to leave the Valley.

Panic-struck residents were seen making a beeline to groceries, gas stations and ATMs so as to stock up dry rations and essentials, fuel and cash, fearing long law and order disturbances.

The State government’s advisory to Amarnath pilgrims and tourists to curtail their stay in Kashmir immediately led to panic in Kashmir which has remained tense for the past few days after the Centre ordered deployment of 100 companies of additional troops in the Valley.

The deployment of the troops and various orders gave rise to the speculations about some major decision in the offing regarding the Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

Apprehending deterioration in the law and order situation, people were seen lining up at departmental stores in the city and elsewhere to stock up dry ration and essentials. Petrol pumps also witnessed a huge rush of customers.

Earlier in the day, the Army said Pakistan-based militants are planning to target the Amarnath Yatra in the Valley.

But security forces are up to the task to foil any such design, it added.

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