Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir authorities have revoked an earlier order directing institutes not to arrange picnics for students to famous resorts of Pahalgam and Sonamarg, located on twin routes to Amarnath shrine, to allow smooth conduct of the pilgrimage.
"There is no ban on school excursions to Pahalgam or Sonamarg. We have revoked the order issued last week by the joint director," Director, School Education, Kashmir, Tariq Ali Mir told said.
Mir said there was no reason to prevent students from visiting these tourist spots.
"Why would we bar our own students from visiting Pahalgam and Sonamarg, when we invite people from all over the world to visit? What message would it send to the world if we stop our children from interacting with tourists and pilgrims," he said.
The School Education Department, Kashmir had on Friday issued "strict instructions" to both government and private educational institutions in the Valley to "desist" from sending students on excursions to Pahalgam and Sonamarg to allow smooth conduct of the nearly two-month long pilgrimage.
The order, issued by Joint Director School Education, Kashmir, said "violation" of instructions shall be viewed "seriously".
Mir said the order by the joint director was issued in "personal" capacity and the department will initiate an inquiry into how such a directive was issued.
The separatists had condemned the order, calling it "unfortunate" and "an act of repression".
Mir said there was no pressure to revoke the order and it was done as there was "no need" for such an order.
The Director, however, said he could not comment on orders banning picnics in Pahalgam and Sonamarg during the Amarnath yatra over the past several years.