Jammu: Security agencies have started implementing a plan chalked out in a recent meeting with the governor for the safety of pilgrims and success of the upcoming 60-day long Amarnath Yatra, a senior police official said on Wednesday.
Governor N N Vohra on Monday had reviewed the security plan for the yatra in a meeting that was attended by Director General of Police S P Vaid and Chief Secretary B B Vyas.
The annual yatra to the Himalayan shrine in south Kashmir will start on June 28 and it would be longer by 20 days this year. It will end on Raksha Bandhan.
“Security agencies have already started implementing the security plan chalked out at a recent meeting chaired by Governor N N Vohra for the success of the yatra.
“Security forces are working together to deal with and eliminate any threat posed to the pilgrimage,” Inspector General of Police (IGP), Jammu Province, S D Singh Jamwal, said.
Over one lakh pilgrims, so far, have already registered themselves for the yatra at centres across the country and advance online booking of helicopter tickets for the pilgrimage will begin on April 27.
Efforts are being taken to make the yatra to the 3,880-metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath peaceful and without any incidents, Jamwal said.
“The Amarnath yatra is a very big event, depicting our culture, history and brotherhood… Elaborate plans have been worked out to ensure a peaceful yatra and make it the best experience for pilgrims,” the officer said.
The annual yatra, which is being managed by the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board headed by the governor, is scheduled to begin from two routes from June 28.
He said the pilgrimage ended peacefully without any untoward incident in the Jammu region last year because of tight security arrangements.
“Last year, not a single untoward incident was reported from the Jammu province during the yatra due to stringent security arrangements and we are sure that the pilgrimage will pass off peacefully this year with the cooperation of the people,” Jamwal said.
Though no untoward incident was reported in the state’s Jammu region, a militant attack in south Kashmir on July 10 last year had left eight pilgrims dead and several others injured. The mastermind of the attack, Abu Ismail, along with his associates were killed in an encounter on September 14, 2017.
Last year, a bus with pilgrims on board skidded off the road near Ramban along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway resulting in the deaths of 17 pilgrims.
“We are working round the clock. Elaborate arrangements with regard to security and traffic management on the highway will be in place. Our attempt is to ensure a peaceful yatra and we are confident that it will be peacefully,” he said.
On intelligence inputs suggesting militants waiting across the border, especially along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) in Jammu, Jamwal said Pakistan is always out to promote disturbance in the state and the country.
“They always try to push militants into this side. There are general inputs, but no specific information,” he said.
However, the IGP said security forces along the border have been put on alert and the surveillance, especially on the highway linking border roads, stepped up to scuttle attempts to push militants into this side.
Referring to the killing of four infiltrators in Sunderbani in Rajouri district in March, he said the success was the result of the anti-infiltration security grid and the cooperation of the people.
“The yatra is starting next month and it will be followed by Independence Day…We are keeping our focus on the calendar and working out our plan accordingly to thwart any attempt of sabotage, he said.