Amarnath Yatra faces terror threat, security reviewed

Amarnath Yatra faces terror threat, security reviewed

In the wake of reports that the annual Amarnath Yatra, commencing on June 28, faced terror threat, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday reviewed the security and law and order situation in the State at the Unified Headquarters meeting here.

Sources told Deccan Herald that the security agencies briefed the chief minister on the militant activities.

“Amarnath Yatra and security concerns related to it were discussed threadbare in the meeting. Arrangements for a safe and peaceful yatra were taken stock of, besides other issues relating to security and law and order,” they added.

Sources said partial revocation of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was also discussed at the almost two-hour long meeting which was attended by top brass of army, police, paramilitary and intelligence agencies and chaired by the Chief Minister. “However, no decision on partial revocation of AFSPA was reached,” they said and added cross-border infiltration and educated youth joining militants remained the prime concern of the meeting.

Later, Governor N N Vohra and Omar discussed upcoming VVIP visits later this month. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi are to visit the valley to inaugurate a rail track from Qazigund to Banihal.

Meanwhile, the State Home Department has issued an order which highlights the security situation in the state. “(There is) high potential of terrorist attacks on the pilgrims to create law and order situation throughout the state and the country, sensitive nature of the yatra, and the high publicity the yatra generates, the entire yatra area is highly prone to terrorist attacks,” the statement said.

The department has asked the police to ensure the strict enforcement of Access Control Measures at Domel on Baltal route and Chandanwari on Pahalgam route to ensure that only registered pilgrims having valid permits for that day are allowed to cross the Access Control Gates.

“Shri Amarnath Shrine Board should explore installing CCTVs at the Access Control Gates at Domel and Chandanwari and link these via internet with control rooms at Srinagar for monitoring of the yatris at these gates,” the order reads.
The Army is also using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for surveillance. “The hills around the route to the cave have been sanitised under Operation Shiva,” Army officials said.

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