Srinagar May 17: Union Home Minister Amit Shah is chairing a high-level meeting in Delhi to review the security preparedness of the Amarnath Yatra set to commence on June 30 after two years hiatus owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As per an official, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Intelligence Bureau Chief Arvind Kumar, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director General Kuldiep Singh, Director General of Police Jammu and Kashmir Dilbag Singh, Director General of Border Roads Organisation (BRO) Lieutenant General Rajeev Chaudhary among other officers from Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) attended the meeting while Amarnathji Shrine Board members participated through video conferencing.
The meeting comes days after Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla convened a similar meeting to review the security preparedness for the annual pilgrimage. Bhalla has so far held two similar meetings– one on May 13 here in Delhi and another in Jammu and Kashmir on April 15.
As per sources, the Home Minister will be apprised of security updates and the department of Central Armed Police Forces on specific locations during the pilgrimage as well as the situation in the region.
They said that resuming the Amarnath pilgrimage is a challenging task as Jammu and Kashmir have witnessed several incidences of targeted killings in the last few months by terrorists following which the Ministry of Home Affairs asked security agencies operating in Jammu and Kashmir to enhance counter-terror operations.
The online registration for Amarnath Yatra 2022 has started from April 11 and the Home Ministry has already sanctioned nearly 50 companies of CAPF to provide security during the pilgrimage as J-K is expecting nearly three lakh pilgrims visiting the Amarnath cave shrine this year.
While online registration has already begun, the pilgrimage is scheduled to be held for 43 days between June 30 and August 11.
The Amarnath shrine pilgrimage to the 3,880 metre-high cave shrine of Lord Shiva, located in the upper reaches of the Himalayas, is held from the twin routes of Pahalgam and Baltal.
The J&K administration had cancelled the annual Amarnath pilgrimage due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation in 2020 and 2021 after a discussion with Amarnathji Shrine Board members.