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‘Why is Gulmarg Being Emptied?’ Omar Abdullah Says Tourists Forced to Leave Hotels Post Terror Alert

Kashmir remained on the edge on Friday as a fresh order asking tourists and Amarnath yatris to leave the Valley triggered panic among the residents.

News18.com

Updated:August 5, 2019, 9:46 AM IST
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‘Why is Gulmarg Being Emptied?’ Omar Abdullah Says Tourists Forced to Leave Hotels Post Terror Alert
As many as 363 Amarnath yatris have left Baltal for Jammu.
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Srinagar: Hours after Jammu and Kashmir government issued advisory to tourists and Amarnath Yatra pilgrims to 'immediately' leave the Valley, National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah on Friday claimed that the people staying in hotels in Gulmarg were being forced to leave hotels.

The NC leader said state transport buses were being deployed to people out of Gulmarg and Pahalgam.

“Friends staying in hotels in Gulmarg are being forced to leave. State road transport Corpn buses are being deployed to bus people out from Pahalgam & Gulmarg. If there is a threat to the yatra why is Gulmarg being emptied?”

The J&K state Home Department's order led to panic on Friday as around 1.75 lakh pilgrims had registered for undertaking the journey to the shrine in batches starting from June 28 till August 15.

Abdullah said even top officials in the state don’t know the reason behind the abrupt curtailing of the Amarnath Yatra and massive deployment of additional forces over the last few days.

The government cited inputs of a terror threat on the pilgrims and the overall security situation in the valley as the trigger for asking people to leave the state. In a parallel move, major security heads in the valley held a press conference, directly accusing the Pakistan Army for terrorism in the state.

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 terrorists 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.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said that "unnecessary panic" was being created by linking the curtailment of Amarnath Yatra with other issues, and requested political leaders to ask their supporters to maintain calm and do not believe in "exaggerated rumours".

"A pure security measure is being mixed up with issues with which it has no connection. That is the cause of the panic," he said and requested the leaders to ask their supporters "not to mix up matters, to maintain calm and not believe exaggerated rumours being circulated all around".

"The Governor himself had clarified matters on (Article) 35A yesterday in Baramulla and the day before in Srinagar," the statement added.

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