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Amarnath Yatra: Over 11,000 troops on toes as BSF increases vigil along border

india Updated: Jul 12, 2016 23:24 IST
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Hindustan Times
Amarnath Yatra

Security forces stand guard at Jammu & Kashmir national highway.(HT File Photo)

In view of the increased threat perception of terror attacks by Pakistan ultras on the ongoing Amarnath pilgrimage this year, the BSF, apart from its nine regular battalions, has deployed 600 men along the Indo-Pak International Border (IB) in Jammu.

The ‘sensitive’ 198-km long border runs from Paharpur in Kathua district to Chicken Neck area of Akhnoor in Jammu district. And, the 87-km long Jammu-Lakhanpur highway, dotted by various Army formations, has remained a target of Pakistan-based militants. The BSF has nine battalions deployed on the IB. As per official figures, each battalion has around 1,200 men.

“We have mobilised all our resources this year. Last year, around 600 men from training battalions were sent to Kashmir for guarding Amarnath pilgrimage but this year we have deployed them on the IB. In fact, we have come up with a second-tier grid on the border,” said a top BSF source.

The source informed that apart from thick deployment along the IB, gaps between the foot-patrols have also been narrowed down.

While surveillance equipments have been upped and integrated, nine commanding officers and three DIGs have been asked to hold their ground till August 18, when the pilgrimage gets over.

“These three DIGs and nine commanding officers have been continuously moving around in their respective sectors, because we anticipate infiltration bids by militants. Definitely, there has been heightened activity on other side of the border,” he added.

Apart from more manpower and foot-patrols, the BSF has also put up laser fence to ward off intruders.

Intrusion bids foiled

The BSF foiled an intrusion bid by four armed Pakistan militants in Hiranagar sub-sector on the intervening night of July 10 and 11 and another bid was foiled in the adjoining Ramgarh sub-sector on the intervening night of July 9 and 10.

BSF DG KK Sharma, on June 3 this year, had said that there were intelligence reports about militants planning to attack the Amarnarh Yatra.

The BSF has been on operational alert because of the pilgrimage. We have also increased surveillance on seasonal rivulets and rivers like Chhap Nullah, Bhag Nullah, Tarnah Nullah, Bain Nullah, Aik Nullah, Devak Nullah, Basanter River, Tawi River, Chenab River, Ravi River, Ujh Nullah, and two to three more rivulets that flow into Pakistan.

Pakistan militants rely upon traditional routes of rivulets and rivers to sneak into the Indian territory.

Heightened security

Apart from nine regular battalions, BSF has deployed 600 men along IB in Jammu. Each battalion has around 1,200 men.

Troops from ‘training battalions’— fresh recruits who are still undergoing training— have been deployed on IB.

Gaps between the foot-patrols have also been narrowed down

Surveillance equipments have been increased and integrated.

Laser fence has been put up to ward off intruders.