Top officials to keep MHA briefed regularly
*Will make assessment of situation every week
JAMMU, June 30: The Central and the Jammu and Kashmir Governments have set up a Core Group comprising top officers of the Home Ministry, Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP), Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Intelligence agencies for security assessment of Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrimage every week.
“The Core Group will meet every week, take security assessment of the pilgrimage in South Kashmir Himalayas, base camps, National Highways etc and decide on further arrangements for the yatris, based on threat perception and taking into account rush of the pilgrims,” official sources told the Excelsior.
The Core Group will keep Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla informed about progress of the annual pilgrimage on weekly basis and, if required, regularly so that security arrangements are accordingly updated, sources said.
The Core Group comprised top officers of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Intelligence Bureau, Counter Intelligence Department, Research and Analysis Wing etc.
Admitting that threat perception this time is high, sources, however, said, equally significant are arrangements made by all security agencies for ensuring smooth and elaborate arrangements for the pilgrims. Nearly 50,000 security personnel from Army, paramilitary forces, Jammu and Kashmir Police and Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police among others have been deployed for the yatra.
The Core Group will not only coordinate for security but also other arrangements required for the pilgrimage and keep the Union Ministry of Home Affairs briefed on developing situation especially with regard to smooth progress of the pilgrimage in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Apart from setting up of the Core Group, many other measures have been taken by the Union Home Ministry for maintaining regular coordination with Jammu and Kashmir Government to ensure that annual yatra progresses smoothly,” sources said expressing confidence that all measures put together will make the pilgrimage successful.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha will flag off first batch of the pilgrims from Bhagwati Nagar base camp at 4 am tomorrow.
This year, the Central and UT Governments have decided that there will be fixed time for release of yatra vehicles from Jammu. No pilgrims will be allowed to process for the yatra from Jammu beyond the specified timing, sources said, adding the step has been taken keeping in view security interest of the pilgrims who will reach here from all over the country.
“All arrangements have been made taking into account the figure of eight lakh pilgrims,” sources said.
It may be mentioned here that the annual pilgrimage of Baba Barfani in South Kashmir Himalayas is being held this time after a gap of two years. The yatra couldn’t be held in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID pandemic while it was cut short in 2019 by at least 15 days because of security arrangements ahead of August 5, 2019 decision of the Central Government.
The Government has decided that Army will man twin tracks of Baltal and Pahalgam besides holy cave shrine area while Central Reserve Police Force will be deployed along Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Jammu and Kashmir Police will play major role in the security arrangements.