Tourists, pilgrims leave Valley after advisory, Guv tells political parties not to panic

RSTV Bureau
Jammu: Pilgrims of Amarnath yatra prepare to leave from base camp, in Jammu, Saturday, Aug 3, 2019.  The Jammu and Kashmir government asked the Amarnath pilgrims and tourists on Friday to immediately make necessary arrangements to cut short their stay in the Valley and return as soon as possible in the wake of intelligence inputs of "specific terror threats" to the pilgrimage. (PTI Photo)

Jammu: Pilgrims of Amarnath yatra prepare to leave from base camp, in Jammu, Saturday, Aug 3, 2019. The Jammu and Kashmir government asked the Amarnath pilgrims and tourists on Friday to immediately make necessary arrangements to cut short their stay in the Valley and return as soon as possible in the wake of intelligence inputs of “specific terror threats” to the pilgrimage. (PTI Photo)

Tourists and Amarnath Yatra pilgrims started leaving the Kashmir Valley on Saturday following the state government’s advisory asking them to cut short their stay, even as J&K Governor S P Malik said there is no need to panic.

Malik urged political delegations led by National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti to tell their supporters to maintain calm and not to believe “exaggerated rumours” being circulated in the Valley.

Indian Air Force flights were also pressed into service to bring the visitors home, an official said.

Amid rumours of plans to repeal Articles 370 and 35A, which allow Jammu a special status and privileges, the governor said in a statement that the state has no knowledge of any changes to constitutional provisions.

Despite the assurance from the Governor, the Congress and the National Conference indicated that they would seek clarifications from the Centre when Parliament meets again on Monday.

The advisory asking pilgrims and tourists to leave had cited security concerns.

The Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department sent buses on Friday, immediately after the advisory was issued, to different tourist destinations to bring the visitors back to Srinagar, Director, Tourism Kashmir, Nissar Wani, said.

The sudden turn of events has left many unhappy, including the business community.

Tourism director Wani said about 20,000-22,000 tourists were in Kashmir on Friday.

According to the Airports Authority of India, 6,126 passengers reported at the Srinagar International Airport on Saturday to travel out of the Valley.

Out of this, 5,829 passengers travelled by 32 scheduled flights. The remaining 387 passengers were accommodated in four IAF aircraft and flown to destinations like Jammu, Pathankot and Hindon. .

The advisory was issued after the Army on Friday said Pakistan-based terrorists were planning to target the Amarnath Yatra.

(With inputs from agency)