Srinagar: With Jammu and Kashmir administration preparing for the Amarnath pilgrimage this year, additional companies of security forces have started to arrive in Kashmir to be deployed for the smooth conduct of the yatra.
Officials said that every day at least four companies of additional security forces will be arriving in Kashmir and will be deployed along the highways, at base camps and vulnerable points and also en-route the cave shrine of Amarnath. The forces will be deployed in Pahalgam, Ananatnag, Baltal, and Sonmarg.
“The process of bringing additional security forces to Kashmir for smooth conduct of pilgrimage has started. Each day, on an average, four additional companies have started arriving in Kashmir. The companies are of CRPF, ITBP, BSF and Sahastra Seema Bal (SSB),” an official privy to the development said.
He said that the process will continue till May-end.
An official said that Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla reached Srinagar to review the preparations of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) and security agencies with regard to the Yatra. Bhalla chaired a meeting in Srinagar where he, according to sources, hailed the synergy being maintained by police, army, CRPF, BSF and other security agencies. However, he stressed on making fool-proof security cover to ensure smooth and incident-free pilgrimage this year.
During the meeting, the sources said, Bhalla stressed on keeping close watch on suspects and directed the security officials to speed up anti-militancy operations ahead of the pilgrimage.
In response, sources said, he was told that security forces have decided to launch a major offensive against militants ahead of the pilgrimage this year.
The yatra will begin on June 30 this year and last for 43 days. “A multi-layer security grid remains in place for an incident-free Yatra,” sources privy to the meeting said.
As part of the security plan, the pilgrims will be travelling in vehicles having RIFD chips that will help police to track their movement. A cut-off timing will soon be released for the vehicles ferrying Yatris so that they remain under the radar of security agencies, the sources said.
The J&K government is expecting a historic Yatra this year with six to eight lakh yatris. Hoteliers have already started drawing up plans to accommodate the pilgrims.