Amarnath yatra suspended for second day as curfew remains in J-K

Srinagar, July 20 (ANI): The Amarnath Yatra remained suspended for the second day on Saturday, as security authorities refused to lift the curfew imposed in sensitive areas of Jammu and Kashmir due to the tension arising out of the BSF firing in the Gool area of Ramban District earlier in the week.

The authorities said the suspension of the yatra has been done as a precautionary step.

So far, over 2.50 lakh pilgrims have participated in this year's yatra to the naturally-formed ice lingam at the Amarnath cave in the south Kashmir Himalayas.

The state's Director General of Police, Ashok Prasad, said restrictions imposed Friday morning would continue till Sunday evening.

Over 30 people were injured in clashes between security forces and stone pelting mobs in Srinagar city and other places in the Valley Friday where people defied curfew, blocked roads, pelted stones on passing vehicles and engaged security forces in sustained clashes.

Heavy deployment of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been made in Srinagar, Ganderbal, Badgam, Bandipora, Shopian, Kulgam, Anantnag, Baramulla and Kupwara districts Saturday to prevent violence.

All major road intersections in Srinagar have been blocked with coils of razor wire, cross parking of security force vehicles and makeshift barricades.

The district magistrate of Srinagar has said identity cards of those manning essential services and media would be treated as curfew passes by the security forces.

An emergency control room has been set up to facilitate passage of patients to hospitals during emergencies. The strategic Jammu-Srinagar highway remained closed for the third consecutive day Saturday.

BSF Inspector General (Frontier Jammu) Rajeev Krishna told reporters the BSF guards at the camp had opened fire to prevent looting of arms and ammunition.

Locals have dismissed the BSF explanation as 'fabrication' saying that the troopers had opened fire at peaceful protesters.

Four villagers were killed in the firing while 43 were wounded.

The state government has shifted the BSF camp from Dharam (Gool) village and the camp has been taken over by personnel of Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police.

An ex-gratia of Rs.5 lakhs and a government job to the next of kin of each of the deceased was announced by the state cabinet. (ANI)

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