Deployment to begin in middle of June
JAMMU, Apr 22: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has approved 74 additional companies of para-military for Jammu and Kashmir for deployment along Baba Amarnath ji yatra route, base camps and other places for security of Amarnath yatris during annual pilgrimage of Lord Shiva in holy cave shrine of South Kashmir Himalayas beginning June 25.
“The additional companies of para-military would start reaching different parts of the State in the middle of June”, official sources said.
In addition, Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP) would mobilize a good number of police personnel from various districts for security of Amarnath pilgrims.
Sources said the State Government and Police Headquarters had taken up the issue of additional companies of para-military personnel for protection of Shri Amarnath ji pilgrims. Annual pilgrimage of Baba Amarnath Ji is beginning from June 25 this year and would conclude till August 2 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
They added that the MHA has formally conveyed its nod for providing 74 additional companies of para-military including Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to the State for smooth conduct of the pilgrimage. While some of the companies would be made available from local resources, others would be given from different States.
However, the additional para-military companies would be for exclusive use of Amarnath yatra security and would be withdrawn immediately after completion of pilgrimage as the MHA was reportedly in need of para-military forces for Naxal affected States including Chattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand etc.
Sources said the para-military personnel would be deployed at Baltal and Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camps in Kashmir, Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu, twin tracks of Baltal and Nunwan and National Highways of Jammu-Pathankot and Jammu-Srinagar along with other security agencies including police.
According to sources, the demand for additional para-military companies for Amarnath yatra had been taken up by police authorities with Union Home Minister during a security review meeting here on April 10. It was followed up subsequently, they said, adding the MHA has formally approved deployment of 74 additional companies of para-military forces for yatra security.
Security agencies were engaged in giving final touch to yatra arrangements well in advance even as deployment of security forces would start only after both the tracks (Baltal and Pahalgam-Chandanwari) were cleared of snow and made fit for movement of the security personnel.
The process could take time as both the tracks were covered with snow and clearance operations would start only next month. Sources said deployment of troops, para-military and police was expected to start in the middle of June so that it was completed well ahead of the start of pilgrimage on June 25.
According to blueprint of yatra security, Army would man heights of Shri Amarnath ji cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas while para-military and police personnel would be deployed on both the tracks, base camps of Baltal and Nunwan, Bhagwati Nagar in Jammu and both National Highways of Jammu-Pathankot and Jammu-Srinagar used by the yatris to reach Jammu and Srinagar.
Senior officers of Army, para-military and police would undertake review of security arrangements for yatra after the snow started melting and snow clearance operations were launched by different agencies.
Sources said Jammu and Kashmir Police would also use reserve police from different districts of the State, especially which were free from militancy or where there was very less presence of security forces for deployment of yatra security.
“Though the militancy has gone down in the entire State including Kashmir valley, the Government was not going to take any chance with security arrangements of yatra and would make fool-proof security for the pilgrims coming from different parts of the country”, sources said.
It may be mentioned here that registration of the pilgrims all along the country would start from May 7 through designated branches of Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Yes Bank, Cooperative Banks and Post Offices.