40 injured, 100 tents burned in Amarnath clashes

July 19, 2014 - 1:43:51 am

Srinagar: More than 40 people were injured in clashes between security forces and protesters in Baltal base camp of the Amarnath Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir after a scuffle between a local pony operator and a cook turned violent, police said.

Around 100 tents and half a dozen ‘langars’ (community kitchens) were torched. Around 20 protesters and as many security personnel were hurt.

Six people, including two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers, have been arrested for instigating violence.

The trouble erupted after the cook reportedly stabbed the ponywallah, who was shifted to a hospital in Srinagar.

After news of the incident spread, pony-wallahs assembled in Baltal and started pelting stones at security forces, including local police and CRPF.

CRPF said the protesters torched the langars, and locals claimed CRPF troopers torched the tents of local residents.

Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Abdul Ghani Mir, flew to Baltal in a helicopter to supervise efforts to bring the situation under control.

The Ganderbal district where the Baltal camp is situated was gripped with tension. Mir said the situation was under control and all pilgrims were safe.

Because of the tension, security forces did not allow passage of pilgrims to Baltal and lodged them at Manigam transit camp in Ganderbal for the day. 

Governor N N Vohra, also Chairman of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board which conducts the pilgrimage, appealed for calm. IANS