According to the J-K police, 1,08,985 pilgrims have already made the journey to the holy cave since June 30. Among them, 55,461 have made the journey through Pahalgam while 53,524 have come via Baltal. The routes go through tense Anantnag and Srinagar where the government has imposed strict curfew to prevent protests. “We have had nine deaths but all of them were because of natural causes. The yatra has thankfully remained completely unaffected by the situation here,” Inspector General of Police, Kashmir zone Farooq Ahmad told The Indian Express. “We are hopeful that the yatra will run smoothly”. He said that though the police and security agencies were on tenter hooks, there has been no incident involving the yatra caravan.
Though there were few incidents where protesters threw stones at tourists on the national highway between Anantnag and Srinagar, the yatri cavalcades were not attacked. For this smooth run, the government, however, received support from across the mainstream-separatist divide. Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq welcomed the yatra and issued an appeal to the protestors not to stop or throw stones at vehicles carrying yatris. “Yatris are our guests and our protests have nothing to do with them,” Mirwaiz said. There was a similar appeal from the grand mufti of Kashmir, Mufti Bashir-ud-Din.
The government, in fact, is worried about the rush of the yatris especially since many of them come even without the pre-requisite official registration. “There are thousands of yatris who come to the Mir Bazaar camp in Anantnag without any registration. This makes things a bit difficult,” a senior official told The Indian Express.
Sources said the J-K government has deputed around 20,000 police and other personnel for providing security.