130 additional companies of CRPF to be deployed for security of pilgrims
Srinagar: Director General of Police (DGP) Shesh Paul Vaid said on Wednesday that the Amaranth pilgrimage this year was under no threat from militants. The paramilitary CRPF, however, said that the threat of militants could not be ruled out and an additional 130 CRPF companies would be deployed for the security of pilgrims.
Vaid, while talking to Kashmir Reader, said that despite the unrest in the Valley, there was no threat from militants to the annual pilgrimage. “There is not any kind of threat to the pilgrimage and it will be held peacefully this year,” he said.
When asked if the situation in south Kashmir was conducive for the holding of the yatra, Vaid said, “Kashmiris will welcome every pilgrim with warmth and open heart. There is no threat to the yatra.”
The annual yatra is scheduled to begin on June 29 and will end on August 7. Bookings for the pilgrimage have already begun.
CRPF spokesperson Rajesh Yadav gave a different opinion to Kashmir Reader. He said that the threat of militant attacks could not be ruled out as militancy-related incidents had gone up.
He said that not only militancy-related incidents were on the rise in the Valley, but also the situation, particularly in south Kashmir, was not conducive for the yatra. “All security measures will be taken to ensure that no militancy-related incident takes place to disturb the pilgrimage,” Yadav said.
He said that 130 additional CRPF companies would be deployed for the security of the pilgrims. The additional companies would be brought from different states of India and would be deployed a week before the yatra begins.
“Though additional security arrangements for the pilgrimage are made every year, the present situation demands even more and extra vigil to prevent any kind of disturbance to the yatra,” he said.
“As the movement of troops will increase during the pilgrimage, chances of militant attacks will be high,” he said.
The first death anniversary of Burhan Wani will fall during the pilgrimage this year. The situation in south Kashmir is highly charged because of the recent killing of Sabzar Ahmad Bhat. Bhat’s killing has sparked protests, street clashes, and a complete shutdown across Kashmir.
Thousands of pilgrims from different states of India visit Kashmir for the annual pilgrimage that takes place during a 40-day period. The yatra is conducted through two routes: Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district.