Nearly 300 Hindu activists were detained here on Sunday when they attempted to begin the Amarnath pilgrimage in defiance of the June 25 date fixed by the organisers.
The Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) has said that it will organise the pilgrimage from June 25 to August 2, a total of 39 days. But Hindu groups want the pilgrimage to last 60 days from June 3 onwards.
The activists were detained for violating a prohibitory order banning assembly of five or more people (Section 144 of CrPC) in Jammu, a police official told reporters.
Led by the Jammu unit chief of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Rama Kant Dubey, the activists tried to breach the police cordon to proceed towards the Amarnath cave in South Kashmir.
Criticising the police action, Dubey said, "The state government is denying us our religious rights."
A spokesperson of SASB said that the route to the shrine was buried under deep snow. "The government would not risk lives of pilgrims by allowing them to proceed under hostile weather conditions," he said.
He added that Governor NN Vohra, who heads the SASB, conducted an aerial survey of the area on Friday and found that the mouth of the cave shrine was blocked by heavy snow.