More than 10,000 security force personnel have been deployed for the annual Amarnath yatra to the south Kashmir cave shrine, officials said.
Around 5,000 paramilitary CRPF and an equal number of state police personnel have been deployed for security of the pilgrims along the traditional Pahalgam route and the shorter Baltal route, the officials said.
Although there are no intelligence inputs to suggest any militant threat to the annual pilgrimage, the officials said they did not want to take any chance.
Barring few incidents at the peak of militancy in late 1990s and early 2000s, the Amarnath yatra has generally been conducted smoothly over the years. Security force personnel have been deployed all along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and between Khanabal and Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Srinagar and Baltal in Ganderbal district, they said. Forces have also been deployed in strength at all halting stations like Panjtarni, Sheshnag and Chandanwari, besides the perimeter of the 3880-metre high cave shrine.
The first batch of nearly 2,000 pilgrims, which left from Jammu base camp today, will be starting their onward journey towards the cave shrine from Pahalgam and Baltal from tomorrow. More than 2.5 lakh pilgrims have registered for the pilgrimage this year but the number is lesser compared to previous years. However, officials said the number of pilgrims will increase during the course of 45-day pilgrimage. The yatra will conclude on August 13 coinciding with Raksha Bandhan.