Anantnag: The Covid-19 pandemic has forced cancellation of the annual Amarnath Yatra, for the second year in a row, here in Jammu and Kashmir, the administration announced on Monday.
Amid fears of a third wave of Covid-19, LG Manoj Sinha held a discussion with the Shri AmarnathJi Shrine Board and decided to not conduct the annual pilgrimage this year.
“Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra cancelled this year,” Sinha tweeted Monday evening. “However, all traditional, religious rituals shall be performed at the cave as per past practice.”
Sinha asserted that saving lives was important and it was not advisable to conduct the yatra in the larger public interest. Jammu and Kashmir has so far recorded 3,11,794 cases of Covid-19 while 4,252 people have died due to the infection since April last year.
The yatra is a pilgrimage to high mountains of Chandanwari in Pahalgam, where devotees pay their obeisance at the Amarnath cave.
The yatra, following a decision to cut down on the number of devotees, faced a last-minute cancellation in 2020 as well. The yatra last year was cancelled a day ahead of its scheduled start in July.
In 2019, New Delhi ordered a curtailment of the yatra mid-way before it announced the scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories.
The early cancellation of the yatra this year comes at a time when there is also political uncertainty in the region. Amid rumours ranging from further bifurcation of J&K to return of statehood, New Delhi has extended an olive branch to the unionist political parties of Kashmir, in the form of an all-party meeting with the Prime Minister.
While these political parties are deliberating over the offer, the rumour mills in Kashmir have again gone into an overdrive.