CRPF creates Force-28 to protect the valley | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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CRPF creates Force-28 to protect the valley

chandigarh Updated: Jul 13, 2012 12:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Kashmir valley has formed a specially trained bomb detection and disposal squad to sanitize the traditional Amarnath Yatra route on a daily basis.

A batch of specially trained CRPF men distributed in 28 teams these days are hunting for road side bombs and mines round the clock on the 130 km road from Jawahar Tunnel- the gateway into Kashmir valley, to the cave shrine in the mountains of Lidder valley in Pahalgam.

The squad called Force-28, detected a 500 gm improvised explosive device (IED) meters away from Jawahar Tunnel on Wednesday night, thus averting a major tragedy on the highway which remains busy due to huge influx of tourists and pilgrims.

"We have specially trained some 300 CRPF men who work round the clock with high tech gadgets and outfits to keep National Highway safe," said BN Ramesh, inspector general (IG) operations of CRPF.

"One of the teams of this squad detected and diffused the IED near the Tunnel on Wednesday night," he said.

A senior CRPF official, associated with the security of Amarnath Yatra, said that the squad spreads throughout the pilgrimage route looking for suspicious devices.

"Force-28 is the creation of CRPF and it has helped a lot to foil the militant designs of sabotage on the highway," the official said.

Apart from the squad, the CRPF has deployed 57 companies for the security of the Yatra since its commencement on June 25.

The Yatris use two tracks to reach the cave shrine situated at a height of 3,888 metres in the mountains of South Kashmir's Lidder Valley.

Most pilgrims prefer the traditional route from Pahalgam base camp while some use a shorter route from Baltal base camp in North east of Srinagar.

An escort team is being provided to every yatra convoy from Jammu to Baltal and Pahalgam base-camps, apart from highway security.

Some companies of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Border Security Force (BSF) have also been deployed in the south Kashmir Himalayas - the abode of the cave shrine.

Around 3.75 lakh pilgrims have already visited the cave shrine with as many as 67 losing their lives in the extremely difficult trek.