Srinagar: The Amarnath yatra, which started on Friday, was on Saturday suspended due to inclement weather conditions. The pilgrims were stopped at yatra base camps in Baltal and Pahalgam.
This year 600,000 pilgrims have registered themselves for the yatra. Authorities have made it clear that no unregistered person will be permitted to undertake the journey that passes through some of the most treacherous mountain routes in Kashmir Himalayas.
"Four thousand unregistered yatris were turned back by us from Manigam transit camp this (Friday) morning," said Shahid Mehraj, Ganderbal's superintendent of police.
A three-tier ring of security manned by the Army, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the state police has been laid around the two base camps and the three transit camps. Besides, heavy deployment of security force has also been made along the highways used by the pilgrims to reach the transit and the base camps.
Some media reports quoting the Army and some intelligence agencies have said that the separatist guerrillas have plans to attack the pilgrims.
Though Chief Minister Omar Abdullah dispelled these reports as "alarmist", the forces have been instructed to take no chances with the security arrangements and safety of the pilgrims.
Dedicated to the Hindu god Lord Shiva, the Amarnath cave shrine is located at 13,000 feet above the sea level. The distance from north Kashmir's Baltal base camp to the cave shrine is around 14 km and the pilgrims are able to return after 'Darshan' the same day.
However, the traditional south Kashmir route from Nunwan base camp to the cave is 45 km passing through Chandanwari, Sheshnag and Panchtarni halting stations. The one-way journey to the shrine on this route takes three days.
With Additional Inputs From IANS