Vital To Ensure Locals Are Not Harassed In Name Of Security Measures For Shri Amarnath Yatra.
The smooth conduct of Shri Amarnath Yatra is the responsibility of both the government and the civil society of Kashmir. For centuries, the people of Kashmir valley have been the crucial stakeholders in the conduct of the Yatra, and the facilitators as well.
Following the threats given by the militant groups to target Amarnath pilgrims, the government has taken extraordinary measures to ensure that the Yatra is organized without any hiccups. Multi-tier security has been put in place along the Amarnath Yatra routes. It is understandable that the unprecedented security measures are in response to the evaluation of threat perceptions by the security agencies. We as citizens are not fully aware of the threat posed by the militants.
At the same time, the administration cannot afford to exclude the general public and take everything related to the Yatra upon itself. The reasons are evident.
There are two important factors which the government must bear in mind in the conduct of the Yatra.
1. The locals are important stakeholders in providing logistics to the Yatris. Without the support of the locals, it shall be impossible for the government to organize the yatra.
2. The government must bear in mind how the yatra supports the local economy. The poor locals who are associated with providing diverse facilities at the yatra are able to provide food to their children for a whole year from the earnings made during the 40 days of the Yatra.
The government must appreciate that the people of Kashmir have been highly welcoming and generous towards the Yatris, and have been helping them as need arises without expectation of any material gain.
Reports suggest that the general public, particularly along the Shri Amarnath routes from Pahalgam and Baltal are subjected to inconvenience. Agreed that it is difficult for the security agencies to know about the intentions of the locals in the towns which are frequented by the Yatris – be it Anantnag, Sonmarg, Shalteng or any village or town along the way.
But the common man must not be harassed or made to feel small because of the Yatra. It is incumbent upon the administration to ensure that the security forces deployed on ground do not harass the locals as they go about their routine activities. This is important to secure the Yatra and the Yatris. The political class is out to make mountains out of molehills. This can certainly impact the image of the government. It is good to be extra careful about the security of the yatris. Equally, it is important to remain respectful and loving towards the local populace.