Amarnath yatra begins today under multi-tiered security
Five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in a militant attack along the main route to Pahalgam on June 12.Updated: Jul 01, 2019 07:44 IST
The annual pilgrimage to Amarnath cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas would begin on Monday under tight security amid an escalation of militant violence.
Officials said the first batch of 2,234 pilgrims arrived in Baltal and Pahalgam, the base camps for the pilgrimage in Ganderbal and Anantnag districts, on Sunday. They would begin a trek to the shrine located 3,888 metres above sea level on Monday.
Five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in a militant attack along the main route to Pahalgam on June 12.
“The yatris [pilgrims] have started arriving at the base camps. We have every facility in place for them,” said Ganderbal’s additional district development commissioner, Shafaqat Iqbal. “The food and accommodation at the base camps are provided for free. We have also kept provisions of free rice, flour, sugar, and gas in case someone wants to prepare food on his own,” he said.
Officials said over 1.5 lakh pilgrims from across the country have registered for the 46-day pilgrimage. The pilgrims trek 32 km to reach the shrine from Pahalgam. The route to the shrine from Baltal is just 14-km-long.
Officials said special arrangements have been made along the trekking tracks. “Railings have been installed along the tracks. They have also been illuminated,” said Anantnag deputy commissioner, Khalid Jahangir.
Wires have been fixed at places along Baltal to deal with shooting stones. “There will be special teams, including from Disaster Response Force, to help the pilgrims throughout the track.”
Officials said 40,000 personnel have been deployed to provide multi-tiered security. Pilgrims’ vehicles have been fitted with radio-frequency identification chips to track movement. The convoys are being provided with CRPF escorts. Closed-circuit television cameras have been installed at vulnerable points and pilgrims have been provided barcoded identity cards.
“All the security agencies have coordinated to draw out a security plan...We have made a comprehensive plan based on our experience,” said CRPF inspector general Ravideep Singh Sahi.