Amarnath Yatra in the midst of protests

Jammu: At crack of dawn, the first batch of 1200 pilgrims begin the Amarnath Yatra despite the violent protests in the Valley.

"There is no fear, this type of situation is not new for Kashmir," said Parveen Bharti, one of the pilgrims.

Around 3000 Border Security Force (BSF) jawans have been airlifted to the state to provide additional security, and the police too say they have made arrangements along the entire yatra route.

Commenting on the security measures taken by the government, DIG Jammu Range Farooq Khan said, "Adequate security measures are in place between international border, city and yatra route and where ever some kind of strengthening would be required that would also be done."

But men like Rajinder Singh are worried. A driver with the state road transport corporation, Rajinder's bus was attacked by protestors in Anantnag district just two days ago. Today he will be driving the first group of Amarnath pilgrims through the same restive district.

"Situation is bad right now. People are throwing stones at all places," said Rajinder Singh.

Amarnath Yatra has started right on time; the safety of the yatris is the priority. Any violent incident involving the yatris would escalate the tension even more for a state that is already on the boil.
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