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CRPF camps, police stations to lodge Amarnath pilgrims stranded on road at night

CRPF chief RR Bhatnagar says 21 additional pickets have been established on way to the cave shrine to keep a tab on any stranded vehicle.

india Updated: Jul 15, 2017 16:03 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CRPF,Amarnath yatra,Anantnag
A security vehicle escorts a group of Amarnath pilgrims, on way to the holy shrine, at Jammu-Srinagar national highway. (PTI File Photo )

CRPF camps and police stations in Kashmir Valley will now accommodate Amarnath pilgrims if they get stranded on the road after sunset.

CRPF chief RR Bhatnagar told HT that if any vehicle of the pilgrims is left stranded on road beyond 7pm due to any emergency such as a flat tyre, it will be escorted to the nearest yatri camp or even to the police stations or camps of the paramilitary force.

To check movement of such vehicles, 21 additional Nakas (pickets) comprising personnel from the state police and the CRPF have been established.

A decision to this regard was taken following the review of security measures in the wake of the July 10 terrorist attack on a bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

The bus got delayed after leaving Srinagar for Jammu as a tyre of the vehicle got deflated. They also lost crucial hours in shopping on the way.

Despite plying solo without any escort after 7pm, the bus was not stopped at any of the pickets on the way till it was attacked near Khanabal around 8.20pm, raising concerns about the security arrangements being made for the pilgrims.

“All pickets on the yatra route have been asked to strictly restrict movement of vehicles carrying yatris beyond 7pm, when the road-opening-parties (ROPs) of the CRPF and the state police are withdrawn,” Bhatnagar said.

He further stated that following the attack, there is a three-fold increase in number of vehicles being included in the daily convoys that move to and from the cave shrine, indicating that pilgrims have become more cautious.

“Even bikers are travelling in the convoy,” added Bhatnagar.

He said it was logistically not possible to extend the plying time beyond the stipulated time.

At the moment the RoPs remain deployed on the route from 7am to 7pm.

“We will have to keep in mind that that these personnel need to be back on the road the next morning by 7am,” Bhatnagar pointed out.

But to deal with the dangers posed by militants, the CRPF has increased the frequency of area-domination patrol at night on vulnerable areas.

First Published: Jul 15, 2017 16:03 IST