Angry Mob Sets CRPF Tents On Fire At Amarnath Yatra Base Camp In Baltal

Angry Mob Sets CRPF Tents On Fire At Amarnath Yatra Base Camp In Baltal

4 July 2013
Times of India
M. Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: An angry mob set dozens of CRPF tents on fire following an altercation with cab drivers at Baltal Amarnath yatra base camp in Jammu & Kashmir's Ganderbal district on Thursday evening. Reports said security forces fired in the air and used batons to disperse the mob that stoned the security forces after a CRPF man had allegedly thrashed a cab driver. Ganderbal SP Shahid Mehraj, who immediately rushed to the spot, said the pilgrims were safe. 'The cab driver was beaten up but he was not injured and had no visible injury. But he was shifted to a Srinagar hospital, where his condition was stated be stable.' An intelligence officer said there has been simmering discontent among locals in the area as government arrangements for the pilgrims had curtailed their means of earning. 'This resulted in the clash between CRPF and the locals.' 'The pilgrimage is the only source of livelihood for hundreds of residents to sustain their families,' said Javaid Ahmad, a local resident. Reports said the residents have demanded removal of CRPF pickets from the area. Presently, 7,000 pilgrims are staying in 2,000 tents at Baltal, which serves as one of the two base camps to the two-month-long pilgrimage to south Kashmir Himalayas that started on June 28.