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Omar dispels reports of threats to Amarnath Yatra

IANS  Srinagar, June 20, 2013
First Published: 14:46 IST(20/6/2013) | Last Updated: 15:07 IST(20/6/2013)

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah Thursday dispelled the press reports about a heightened security threat to the pilgrims joining the forthcoming Amarnath Yatra.

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Reacting to newspaper reports here quoting army and intelligence agency sources that militants plan to target this year's Amarnath Yatra beginning June 28, the chief minister tweeted: "Talk about confusion within intelligence agencies, nowhere in the UHQ (Unified Headquarters) meeting yesterday (Wednesday) was a mention made of an increased threat# yatra."

In another tweet, Omar said: "In fact, I asked a pointed question about whether the threats this year were higher than previous years and the answer was a categorical no."

He also criticised the local media for overplaying the threat. "So, while we will take all the regular precautions with a multi-layer security grid, 'Yatra attack feared' headlines are a gross exaggeration," he said.

The chief minister Wednesday chaired a meeting of the apex security grid in the state known as the Unified Headquarters, which was formed to coordinate security force action against the separatist guerrillas.

The pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine in the Kashmir Himalayas will commence simultaneously from both the Baltal and the Pahalgam routes on June 28 and culminate on Raksha Bandhan (Aug 21).

The traditional Pahalgam route involves a trek of 46 km from Pahalgam tourist resort, 100 km south of Srinagar, while the route from Baltal, 110 km north of Srinagar, is a shorter but quite steep and arduous.


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