Srinagar, June 30 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Dileep Kumar, 55, is nonetheless delighted that he is here for his seventh pilgrimage and for that he is full of love and gratitude for the local population.

Although the rain has been a cause of anxiety for him since he arrived in Pahalgam with a group of pilgrims from Rajasthan to undertake the trek up the treacherous mountains to perform the pilgrimage at the Amarnath cave.

“I have come here to perform yatra even during 2010 and 2016 summer uprising but never ever did I feel insecure. The love and warmth I receive every time I visit here prompts me to come again and again,” says Dileep Kumar.

A visibly excited friend of Kumaar who identified himself as Anand said, “He (Kumar) used to always tell me that Kashmir is a safe place for yatris and tourists and what was being portrayed by a section of media is only propaganda. It was on his insistence that I visited here. And now I realize what I had missed in my life.”

Narendra, from North Indian state of Punjab, who has come with a group of twenty, echoed the same feeling. “The rainfall might have halted our journey but it provided us an opportunity to enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of Pahalgam. We moved around and enjoyed every bit of it,” they said.

“People here are very cooperative and guide you well. Hoteliers, pony walas and shopkeepers all have been very nice to us. The locals here have offered us warm clothes and blankets. We are very much overwhelmed,” said Shubam, 47, from Delhi.

It is the local Kashmiri Muslims who are the major service providers to the Amarnath pilgrims during the annual yatra. “We are very excited about the yatra. I am coming for the second time but my each visit makes me more excited,” said Suresh Sharma, a pilgrim from Delhi.

“There is no fear in our mind, the locals are supporting us,” said Dhinkar Jain, a pilgrim from Gujarat.


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