Jammu and Kashmir

Hizbul militant says won’t attack Amarnath pilgrims, “They are our guests”

The Hush Post: The Hizbul Mujahideen militant group in Kashmir has said it has no plans to attack the Amarnath pilgrims.

In an audio message believed to be from Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Riyaz Ahmad Naikoo urged pilgrims to go on the yatra without security cover. “You don’t need any security as you are our guests,’’ Naikoo said in the 15-minute audio clip being circulated on social media.

Surprisingly, it also stated Kashmiri Pandits who migrated from the Valley in the 1990s could return. Naikoo said the group was opposed to separate colonies being made for them.

‘Recently J&K DGP SP Vaid said that the security of the Amarnath yatra has been beefed-up, as militants are planning to attack the yatra. This is not true. We don’t have any plan to attack Amarnath yatra and will never attack them,’’ the message said.

“They (yatris) are coming here to fulfill their religious obligations. We have never attacked the Amarnath yatra in the past as our fight is not with the yatris. Our fight is with those people who are committing atrocities on our people and those who forced us to pick up the gun,’’ it added.

Hizbul’s fight has never been against the people of India, said Naikoo.

The annual Amarnath yatra will begin from Pahalgam in South Kashmir and Baltal in central Kashmir amid tight security on Thursday. Eight pilgrims were killed  last year when suspected militants attacked a bus in Anantnag town.

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