As the first batch of Amarnath Yatra pilgrims arrived in Jammu Kashmir under tight security, a video was released by militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, in which, the Hizbul commander Riyaz Naikoo said that the Amarnath pilgrims are “our guests, and not targets” while assuring their security in Kashmir.

Each year, lakhs of pilgrims from across India register themselves for the annual Amarnath Yatra pilgrimage to the cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas; and looking at the Valley’s situations, the pilgrimage happens under high threats. The first batch pilgrims for this year’s Amarnath Yatra have already arrived in Jammu Kashmir and were flagged off from Jammu’s base camp in Bhagwant Nagar today – but this year is no different when it comes to fear of attacks. An alert was issued by security forces before the commencement of Amarnath Yatra that the pilgrimage was is under terrorists’ radar; hence, tight security and precautions are being taken.

Amid tensed situation among the pilgrims, the region’s militancy outfit Hizb-ul-Mujahideen released a video assuring that the pilgrims of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra have nothing to fear as long as they are in Kashmir to fulfil their religious duties. The video that went highly viral contains an audio clip in which, Hizbul Commander Riyaz Naikoo was heard saying, “Amarnath Yatra is not our target. They (pilgrims) come here to perform their religious rituals. They are our guests.” Furthermore, he said that Amarnath pilgrims don’t require security from terror reports and rubbishing the reports that the terrorists are planning to attack the pilgrims this year.

Naikoo added that their group is not at war with the pilgrims or the people of India or the Indian State, and that they are at war with “those who forced them to pick guns” and forced them to fight for their “rights and freedom”. While the authenticity of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen video is uncertain and the Indian Army is taking care of security, the viral video is likely to bring some assurance of safety among the two lakh pilgrims who are have registered themselves and are already off towards the Himalayan Mountains for their annual Amarnath Yatra.

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