Even the threats from dreaded terrorist organization were not able to do what Coronavirus did by cancelling the Amarnath Yatra for the first time in known history.
The Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) that met to decide on going ahead with the Yatra announced that the holy pilgrimage in Kashmir has been cancelled owing to the threat to pilgrims from Covid-19.
Earlier there were speculations that the Amarnath Yatra may start from July 20 as some reports had stated. However the pilgrimage was delayed due to the spread of Coronavirus in the country. The number of cases of the infection have also risen in Jammu and Kashmir.
The two month pilgrimage that takes place every year concludes on Rakshabandhan. This year the festival falls on August 3. There was a silence from the government and SASB on holding of pilgrimage for the past long time. Even the religious leaders had stated that the government can take a decision on holding of the Yatra in wake of rising Covid-19 cases in the country and UT.
As per sources it would not have been possible to make arrangements for so many pilgrims who could have been infected. It would have become difficult for the pilgrims to follow the norms of social distancing.
Even last year the Amarnath Yatra had been suspended in between before Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two UTs. The government had apprehended that the announcement on August 5 could have resulted in violent protests in Kashmir valley due to which the decision was taken. There have been instances in past where stones were pelted on buses carrying Amarnath pilgrims.
Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) and SASB had started preparations on their part to host the pilgrims in Jammu and also taken precautions against the spread of Covid-19. Preparations were also made at the base camp of Baltal. The government had earlier stated in a meeting on July 3 that the number of the pilgrims that would be allowed to proceed for Yatra per day would be limited to 500 only.
However many pilgrims who were planning to take part in Amarnath Yatra 2020 were left disheartened.