Nirmala reviews Amarnath Yatra security

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Jun 2018 09:09:17



Yatra to begin from Thursday

Security personnel on high alert

DEFENCE Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited the Baltal base camp in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday to review security arrangements made for the annual Amarnath Yatra.

Officials in the Defence Ministry said that Sitharaman, accompanied by senior commanders of the Army, was briefed on the three-tier security arrangements made for the Yatra that begins on June 28.

As many as 213 additional companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed to secure the nearly 400 km-long Yatra route from winter capital Jammu to the two base camps of Baltal and south Kashmir’s Pahalgam.
The 36 km-long trek from Pahalgam has halting points at Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Panchtarni and finally the Cave shrine situated at an altitude of 12,756 feet above the sea level.

Pilgrims using the Pahalgam route take four days to reach the shrine. Those using the Baltal route reach back to the base camp the same day after praying inside the shrine cave which involves only 14 km-long one-way uphill trek. Helicopter services are also available for the pilgrims on both the routes.

The Nunwan Base Camp has been converted into a fortress ahead of the commencement of the annual Yatra, which will begin on Thursday, as security for this year’s pilgrimage was heightened to thwart any rerun of last year’s militant attack that left eight pilgrims dead and several injured.
Security forces -- mainly police and CRPF personnel -- have been deployed in large numbers around the Nunwan Base Camp located at the entry of this buzzing tourist town known as the ‘valley of shepherds’ in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

The first security checkpoint was established and activated near the Langanbal bridge where police personnel check every vehicle entering or leaving Pahalgam, which serves as the base camp for the pilgrimage to the holy cave of Amarnath in the mountainous region of Kashmir.

Security personnel have been deployed on both sides of the Lidder stream to thwart any attempt of daredevilry by militants. The next security barricade is adjacent to the Nunwan Base Camp where hi-tech gadgetry will be used to maintain strict vigil.

CCTV cameras, metal detectors and X-ray machines have been installed to prevent smuggling in of contraband. Besides, every person crossing into the tourist resort will be frisked.

Militants, who have publicly assured of inflicting no harm on the devotees in the past, carried out a deadly attack on a bus last year, killing eight Amarnath pilgrims in Anantnag.
“We do not want to leave anything to chance. It was a misfortune that militants succeeded in targeting a bus last year,” a senior police official said.