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J-K: Pilgrims for Amarnath yatra formally welcomed at Nashri by District Commissioner

Ramban: The first batch of pilgrims who kickstarted their journey from Jammu on Wednesday morning reached Ramban in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday morning where they were formally welcomed at Nashri by the District Commissioner.

The Yatra began on Wednesday from Jammu amid tight security arrangements by the security forces including Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Indian Army and the local police.

Speaking to ANI, Ramban District Commissioner Mussarat Islam said, "As per our reports, almost 6000 devotees will leave Balkan and Pahalgam to reach the holy cave. We've put up langar at a lot of crucial, tactical spots for our tourists' convenience."

Amid the ongoing Amarnath Yatra, Jammu and Kashmir's Ramban district has been seen a communal harmony, brotherhood and coexistence.

The Pahalgam-bound pilgrims had their breakfast at a Langar in Nashri while Baltal-bound pilgrims had their breakfast in Langars at Chanderkot.

At both these places, the locals from all sections of society had helped the religious and philanthropic organizations of Jammu province and various north Indian states to establish the langars.

Meanwhile, the poor vendors and shopkeepers along the Amarnath Yatra route have been selling food, fruits and other things to pilgrims and earning their livelihood.

"I am very excited to see the Yatra which resumed after two years. All fruits were sold within an hour which normally used to take a whole day," said Mohammed Aftab who sells fruits at Nashri.

Another eatery vendor Rahil Ahmed said, "I wish the peace in Kashmir and Yatra should be concluded peacefully and smoothly without any disruption by militants so that more pilgrims come here and I could earn more for my livelihood."

The Amarnath shrine pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine of Lord Shiva, located in the upper reaches of the Himalayas, is held from the twin routes of Pahalgam and Baltal.

The Jammu and Kashmir government had cancelled the annual Amarnath pilgrimage due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation in 2020 and 2021 after a discussion with Amarnathji Shrine Board members.

Security has been tightened in Jammu and Kashmir with special emphasis on the use of over 130 sniffer dogs on the vehicle routes heading towards the shrine to ensure safe pilgrimage amid heightened terror threats.

A top government official, requesting anonymity, told ANI that this is the first time when the security forces have been using a maximum number of sniffer dogs to check the use of explosives by terrorists to disrupt the 43-day annual pilgrimage beginning on June 30. (ANI)

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