MHA approves 350 companies of CAPFs for annual yatra

File Photo

Deployment to start on June 1, complete by June 20
Two separate Advisories issued for Jammu, Kashmir

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, May 24: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is reported to have approved 350 additional paramilitary companies for Jammu and Kashmir for smooth conduct of Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrimage in South Kashmir Himalayas, beginning June 30.
The Central Intelligence Agencies have also issued set of advisories separately for Jammu and Kashmir divisions for the annual yatra which will last 43 days till August 11.
Official sources told the Excelsior that 200 paramilitary companies will arrive in the Union Territory immediately in the first phase while 75 companies each will reach in second and third phases.
“All 350 additional companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) will be in place in Jammu and Kashmir by June 10 while their deployment will be over by June 20 i.e. 10 days ahead of start of the pilgrimage to Lord Shiva’s holy cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas,” sources said.
Five paramilitary forces whose companies will be deployed for the yatra security include Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
Bulk of the companies being deployed for yatra security belonged to the CRPF, sources pointed out.
The companies of five paramilitary forces are being sent to Jammu and Kashmir from New Delhi and some other peaceful States.
Describing 350 additional companies of CAPFs as enough for security of Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrimage, sources said, advanced arrival and deployment of paramilitary personnel in Jammu and Kashmir especially the Valley will help further in maintenance of law and order situation and check any incident of targeted killings.
Apart from additional deployment of paramilitary forces, the Central Intelligence Agencies have also issued two sets of Advisories for Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrimage–one each for Jammu and Kashmir divisions.
Advisory for Jammu division pertained to drone attacks and militant attack after infiltration from the border while Advisory for Kashmir is multiple form of attacks including use of sticky bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
“Security arrangements for Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrimage are being made taking Advisories into account,” sources said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha have held series of meetings to review arrangements for Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrimage especially with regard to security in view of targeted killings.
“The Central Government as well as Jammu and Kashmir Government are concerned over yatra security. They want fool-proof security arrangements to be in place for the pilgrimage,” sources said.
They added that both Central as well as Jammu and Kashmir Governments don’t want to take any chance with the yatra arrangements and, therefore, more high-level security review meetings are also likely to be held in future.
This time, security arrangements are going to be more stringent as the pilgrimage is taking place after two years.
The yatra couldn’t be conducted in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID pandemic while it was cut short by about 15 days in 2019 ahead of Central Government’s August 5 decisions to scrap special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate erstwhile State into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
This is after gap of two years that pilgrimage to Lord Shiva’s holy cave shrine of Shri Amarnath Ji in South Kashmir Himalayas is being revived as COVID is now almost over.
The numbers of additional paramilitary companies have been worked out taking into account targeted killings by the militants and steps required to protect the soft targets as well as the pilgrims all along the National Highways including Pathankot-Jammu and Jammu-Srinagar besides twin tracks of Baltal and Nunwan, base camp in Jammu and all other vulnerable areas.
While Army could man some places of Pathankot-Jammu and Srinagar-Jammu National Highways besides Shri Amarnath Ji cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas, the BSF could also be deployed on the highways. The ITBP might be placed in some areas of twin tracks.