Violent clash leaves over 25 people injured at Amarnath base camp
JAMMU: Clashes broke out on Friday near Baltal, the
base camp of Amarnath Yatra, after a dispute between pony owners and those
running community kitchens and alleged high-handedness by CRPF personnel,
leaving at least 25 people injured following which the yatra has been
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah deputed
senior officials in the area, over 100 kilometres southeast of Srinagar, and the
situation is under control, officials said. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh
spoke to the Chief Minister over phone about the violence and asked him to take
all necessary steps.
The incident took place at Dumail near Baltal area
which comes under Sonamarg, a picturesque tourist spot. A small altercation
broke out between ‘langarwallahs’, who run community kitchens for the pilgrims,
and local pony owners, who take the yatris through rough terrain to the holy
However, the quarrel soon took a violent turn as the
local unit of CRPF tried to intervene. While the police spokesman maintained
that only 12 people were wounded, sources said as many as 25 people were
injured which included a few with burns.
Allegations were levelled that CRPF personnel had
shown high-handedness and had set the tents on fire, but they were denied by
There was a blast due to explosion of cooking gas
cylinder which led to fire in other tents in the camp. “The situation has been
brought under control and senior police and civil administration officials are
on the spot to resolve the issue,” the spokesman said. While officially police
only said that they had registered a case, sources said that as many as three
CRPF personnel were detained by the local police.
Reacting to the developments, CRPF claimed that 10
community kitchen were set on fire by protesters resulting in injury to its 12
jawans. Meanwhile, police said that yatra has been suspended in view of the
violence and a convoy en-route to the cave shrine was stopped as a
The yatra has been stopped at Nowgam-Tawahir tunnel
area in Banihal belt as a precaution in view of the clashes between two groups
of people at Baltal, police said in Jammu.
The plilgrims were not allowed to move into Kashmir
via Jawahar tunnel from Banihal belt of Ramban district. Amid tight security,
the 22nd batch of 1,765 pilgrims, including 1244 men, 409 women and 20
children, left from the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu in a cavalcade of 62
vehicles this morning With today’s batch, 41,023 pilgrims have far left from
the Jammu base camp for the Amarnath shrine.