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Amarnath Yatra delayed by Shopian protests


Pawan Bali,CNN-IBN
Jun 10, 2009 at 12:46pm IST

Jammu: The annual Amarnath Yatra has met another roadblock and has being delayed for over a week.

The Yatra was delayed in 2008, too, over the Amarnath land row and in 2009, protests over the death of two women in Shopian is threatening to derail the annual pilgrimage.

The Yatra, which was to start on June 7, has already been postponed by a week and many yatris like Jitender Kumar are stuck in Jammu.

"We have been here for five days. We are stuck and don't know what do now," says Jitender Kumar.

Amarnath Shrine Board says that weather and snow have postponed the dates, but the Opposition in Jammu and Kashmir blames it on the strikes across the Valley over the Shopian deaths.

"It is a conspiracy of a few people to make the Kashmiris and the pilgrims suffer. It leads to losses. People should get together and say that the Yatra will be smooth," J-K BJP President Ashok Khajuria says.

Adding fuel to the fire has been hardline Hurriyat leaders like Syed Shah Geelani, who are demanding that the yatra should be curtailed to two weeks even though the state government, though has assured a smooth pilgrimage

"We are making all preparations for the Yatra and hoping that it is smooth," assures J-K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah

The Yatra is now likely to start from June 15 and will continue till August 5.

This year the weather has ensured the formation of a 14-foot Shivling at the pilgrimage site and the yatris are hoping that nothing will stand in the way of them getting a darshan.

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