Pahalgam- Three weeks ahead of the annual Amarnath yatra, the prominent tourist resort of Pahalgam in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district has been placed under a thick security blanked by the paramilitary forces.
The Amarnath Yatra is scheduled to start on June 30 from the twin routes — traditional 48-km Nunwan in south Kashmir’s Pahalgam and 14-km shorter Baltal in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal.
The troops including Border Security Force (BSF) can be seen patrolling most of the roads in the picturesque valley of Pahalgam—where the yatris will be enrouted to the holy cave. New pickets have come up at many places along the Anantnag- Pahalgam route where the government forces frisk the vehicles and subject the travelers to identification checks.
Temporary camps have also come up at different places in Pahalgam to accommodate the security personnel that have arrived for the security of the pilgrims.
The central forces and police commandoes also carry out regular search operations in the forest area of Pahalgam to keep a check on suspected persons.
It may be noted, the security forces killed a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander, who was active for around a decade, and his two associates in an encounter in the forest area of Pahalgam in southern Kashmir on 05 May.
Police had claimed that with the killing of Hizb commander, a major threat looming over the annual pilgrimage was averted.
An official from the CRPF told Kashmir Observer that the government forces have taken extra security measures following the encounter.
Nearly eight lakh pilgrims are expected to take part in the Amarnath Yatra this year. Reports said that over two lakh pilgrims have registered for the annual pilgrimage till now.
The government has already approved 50 companies of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) at specific locations along the route.
Scores of bullet-proof SUV police convoys and bullet-proof bunkers have been deployed as part of the “biggest-ever” security blanket thrown to secure pilgrims.
In view of the targeted killings, the security agencies have also reworked their strategy to ensure the safety of the pilgrims.
The official said CRPF will be equipped with high-tech gadgets being used “first time” during the annual pilgrimage of Hindus amid specific concern regarding the use of “sticky bombs”.
The official said the yatra will have a five-layer security system with drones, radio frequency identification (RFID), and hundreds of CCTVs to secure the Amarnath yatra vehicles.
The government has decided to provide multi-tier security cover by getting 300 additional companies of paramilitary forces to Kashmir.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.