On Wednesday, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took a jibe at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central Government after Jammu Kashmir Directorate of Information withdrew a press note which said that the Amarnath Yatra has been cancelled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Taking to Twitter, Abdullah wrote, "Once again proving the point that these days nothing to do with J&K actually gets decided in J&K."
Earlier, within minutes of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) announcing cancellation of the Amarnath Yatra due to coronavirus pandemic, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday said the press note was "cancelled and withdrawn".
However, nothing else was said, giving rise to uncertainty over the 42-day-long yatra which was scheduled to commence from the twin tracks of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district on June 23.
In an official statement titled "Shri Amarnathji Yatra 2020 cancelled due to outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic", a spokesman had said that the decision was taken at the 38th Board meeting of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) which met under the chairmanship of Lt Governor G C Murmu at Raj Bhavan here.
However, he said the board decided that the Pratham Pooja' and 'Sampann Pooja' would be done with traditional fervor.
Later, within half an hour, another official statement was issued which read, "The Press Note titled Shri Amarnathji Yatra 2020 cancelled due to outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic released vide No: PR/DI/19/7062/ may kindly be treated cancelled and withdrawn."
Lieutenant Governor, Girish Chandra Murmu, who is also the chairman of the Amarnath Yatra board had said that a nationwide lockdown already in place and the situation is unpredictable. He had added that the safety of the pilgrims is of utmost importance. Murmu said that there were 77 red zones identified in the Kashmir valley from where the pilgrimage passed.
If the Amarnath Yatra would be cancelled, it will be for the first in its history that the annual pilgrimage will be suspended.
Last year, the Amarnath yatra was cut short citing security reasons after which Article 370 and Article 35A was scrapped in the state.
(With PTI inputs)