Amarnath Yatra Begins Under 5-Tier Security

A CRPF man standing guard outside a Yatri camp in Pantha Chowk area of Srinagar on Tuesday. KO Photo, Abid Bhat 

LG Likely To Flag Off First Batch Of Pilgrims From Jammu Today

Srinagar- A five-layer security arrangement, including sharpshooters, drone and CCTV surveillance has been put in place Jammu and Kashmir to ensure smooth and incident-free conduct of annual Amarnath yatra beginning on Thursday after three year suspension.

According to officials, the first batch of pilgrims bound for the Amarnath cave shrine in South Kashmir’s Pahalgam will depart from Jammu on Wednesday.

They said that J&K Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha is likely to flag off the heavily escorted convoy of vehicles carrying the pilgrims to the Valley.

The 43-day-long annual 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 — after a hiatus of nearly three years owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A CRPF official told Kashmir Observer on Tuesday that a five-layer security system with drones, radio frequency identification (RFID), and hundreds of CCTVs has been put in place to ensure smooth conduct of the annual pilgrimage.

He said the multi-tier security cover will be provided to the devotees by the 300 additional companies of paramilitary forces brought to the Valley recently.

“Sharp shooters will also be deployed atop high rise buildings, vintage points etc along the highway till the base camps in Pahalgam and Baltal. It has been part of a drill,” the official, who insisted not to be named, told Kashmir Observer

He said a team has been already created to monitor movement of suspicious persons through Close Circuit Television (CCTV).

“We have installed the cameras in all the areas wherever needed,’ he added.

The official further said that besides paramilitary forces like BSF, CRPF, ITBP, SSB and CISF, the army and police have also been deployed in large numbers to thwart any attacks from the militants.

“Strong security arrangements have been made all along the 300 km stretch of the Jammu-Srinagar highway,” the CRPF official said.

A senior police officer also maintained that unprecedented security measures have been taken for peaceful conduct of the yatra.

He said that central forces have also been deployed in strength on the two yatra routes, 48 km traditional Pahalgam route in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and the 14 kms Baltal route from the Ganderbal district, from where the pilgrims have the option to either trek or take a helicopter flight to the cave shrine.

“The Road Opening Parties (ROPs) of the Army and CAPFs will thoroughly scan the road routes every morning before the convoy carrying the pilgrims is allowed to proceed from Jammu,” he said

The police officer further said that Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has been made compulsory for real-time tracking and monitoring of pilgrims and vehicles.

Meanwhile, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar on Tuesday took stock of security arrangements at the holy Cave and the yatri Camp at Panjtarni, a police spokesperson said.

Kumar, he said, also held a security review meeting with officers from the Army, CRPF, BSF, ITBP, JKP, NDRF and civil administration.

“Later on, the IGP physically inspected the deployment of forces on the ground and instructed them on better coordination and joint efforts to achieve incident-free and smooth yatra,” the spokesperson added.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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