Security for Amarnath Yatra to be enhanced

Security for Amarnath Yatra to be enhanced
With Jammu and Kashmir on the boil, the army will enhance the security cover for Amarnath pilgrims. More than 14,000 additional security personnel from the army, central paramilitary forces and state police will be deployed all along the 300-km pilgrimage route, sources told DH. The yatra is scheduled to begin on June 29 and culminate on August 7.

Since the yatra, which is held every year, was targeted by terrorists twice — in 2003 and 2007 — the security agencies are not taking any chances. Top-level discussions at the Centre and state levels are under way to ensure an incident-free pilgrimage.

Army sources said it has planned to deploy two battalions (one battalion has 1,000 soldiers) along the sensitive sectors of the route and another battalion on the Shamshabari mountains to check terrorist movements across the Line of Control.

In addition, the Central Reserve Police Force and the Border Security Force plan to deploy more than 100 companies (one company has about 100 men) all along the route. The number of men deployed is almost double compared to last year, which signifies the “heightened threat perception” to the high-profile event this year, officials said.

Pilgrims will have to pass through restive areas in south Kashmir, which witness regular incidents of stone-pelting and confrontation between militants and security personnel.

Recently, a cordon-and-search exercise involving four army battalions, eight companies of the CRPF, five platoons of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and 30 women police was conducted in Shopian. The aim was to establish area domination. However, within days, young Kashmir-born army officer Lt Ummer Fayaz, who went home on leave, was abducted and killed.
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