Jammu, May 13 - Police today detained 53 Bajrang Dal activists foiling their bid to move towards the Baltal base camp of Amarnath cave shrine in Kashmir ahead of commencement of the annual pilgrimage next month.
Flagged off by VHP state chief Rama Kant Dubey from Jammu city, a group of 150 boarded two buses and left for Kashmir Valley but were intercepted by police on Jammu-Srinagar National highway at Jajjarkotli, 35 kms from here.
"53 activists of Bajrang Dal were detained and have been taken to District Police Lines (DPL) Jammu", police said adding later in the evening the magistrate ordered their release.
However, they have refused to leave DPL and are demanding that they be allowed to move to Kashmir to carry out 'kar seva' (volunteer work) there.
"We had flagged off a team of 150 activists to Baltal base," Dubey told reporters here .
He said the team was to take part in snow clearance operations to facilitate smooth commencement of the pilgrimage.
He criticised the authorities for detaining Bajrang Dal activists. "They were not breaking any law by going to Kashmir to carry out the kar seva for Amarnath yatra there," he said.
He criticised the Amarnath Shrine Board's decision to reduce the number of days of the Yatra citing climatic reasons and commence the yatra from June 25.
Various Hindu organisations including VHP are demanding that Amarnath Yatra should start from June 4. PTI