Massive Security Grid being created at Baltal, Nunwan

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, May 10: A massive Security Grid is being created at Baltal and Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camps not only to thwart possibility of any terror attack on Amarnath yatris but also prevent influx of unregistered pilgrims during annual pilgrimage beginning June 25.
Official sources told the Excelsior that security forces, police, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) and other agencies involved in security of the pilgrims have decided to install two large size gates at the main entrance of Baltal and Nunwan from where the pilgrims start their onward journey to Baba Amarnath ji shrine.
“The gates are being designed and constructed with the help of security experts. They would be in place well before start of the yatra”, sources said.
They added that the gates would be designed in such a way that no one was able to breach them. They would cover entire entrance of both the tracks and would be manned round-the-clock by para-military and police personnel. Only the pilgrims with valid registration slips would be allowed to cross the gates in addition to security and Shrine Board staff carrying duly authorized identity cards.
Sources said the gates would also serve as part of major security grids as not only the unregistered pilgrims but even the undesirable elements like militants and their Over Ground Workers (OGWs) would also be unable to breach them.
This was for the first time that the SASB and security agencies have come up with a new idea of installing fool-proof system of new kind of gates to prevent influx of any unregistered yatris as well as the anti-national elements.
Sources said the gates would be in place a week ahead of the start of yatra on June 25 to ensure that unregistered yatris even didn’t venture before the pilgrimage to reach holy cave shrine of Lord Shiva. Earlier, there had been precedent that some yatris used to reach Bhawan before start of the yatra and even fiddled with holy Ice Lingam of Lord Shiva.
Meanwhile, Gujjars have started venturing into the track from both Baltal and Nunwan sides to take photographs of the track from different places for the Shrine Board and other authorities to facilitate start of clearance operations.
“The Shrine Board authorities would also be surveying the track next week”, sources said, adding that the Gujjars were venturing into the track from different positions along with cameras clicking exact position of the twin tracks from Baltal and Nunwan and bringing in photographs.
Sources said the clearance operations would be started as soon as snow starts melting and hopefully both the tracks would be made fit for the pilgrimage before June 25 to ensure start of the yatra on due date. The yatra was due to end on August 2 coinciding with Sharavan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan.
Sources said deployment of security forces at the holy cave shrine, tracks and other vulnerable places would also start with clearance of snowfall. Security forces would conduct recee of the track before deployment. At some places, the security personnel would be deployed even during the snowfall to man some important positions, they added.