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Indian top court declines to restrict ‘Amarnath Yatra’ Hindu pilgrimage in Kashmir

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Amid the surge in COVID-19 cases, the Indian Supreme court has declined to restrict Amarnath Yatra – the Hindu pilgrimage in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Whether pilgrimage is held should be left with the local administration to decide and not for the court. Undoubtedly any decision arrived must be based on law and all relevant statutory provisions,” ruled a three-member bench of the apex court.

The plea seeking restrictions on the entry of devotees in view of the current pandemic situation was filed by Shri Amarnath Barfani Langars Organization, a non-profit association engaged in providing various services during the Hindu pilgrimage.

The association pleaded that in case devotees are allowed for the pilgrimage, the coronavirus infection will spread and it will be hard to trace the contacts.

The regional administration in Kashmir has already said that the Hindu pilgrimage will be undertaken in a “restricted manner” which is likely going to begin at the end of this month, with 500 pilgrims allowed per day.

Every year, thousands of Hindu devotees visit Amarnath cave at an elevation of 3,888 meters (12,775 feet) in the Pahalgam area of South Kashmir. Inside the cave is a Shiva Lingam, a holy symbol for the Hindus worldwide.

Meanwhile, the regional administration in Indian-administered Kashmir has re-imposed lockdown in many parts of the region in view of the spike in coronavirus cases and deaths but at the same time, it has allowed entry of tourists in the region beginning from tomorrow drawing criticism from the local population in the region.

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