Tulmula: Dismissing the demands of commencing Amarnath Yatra early, Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday said that he will not approve the beginning of the pilgrimage before the scheduled date i.e. June 29.

Abdullah informed that there is still a lot of snow on the route to the cave shrine and advancing the date would put the lives of the pilgrims at risk.

 “The yatra will commence as scheduled from June 29 in accordance with the programme schedule given to us. The roads to the cave are blocked and we are making all efforts to clear the snow before the given time,” Abdullah said.

The Chief Minister was addressing the media at the occasion of Mela Khir Bhawani, a festival observed by Kashmiri pandits.

Notably, the government is facing criticism from Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and other saffron parties, which want to commence the holy pilgrimage from June 15.