Security grid, civil admin to increase synergy for incident-free Amarnath Yatra

Focus on coordinated effort to achieve laid down goals for successful event Conference follows high-level security review meet by Home Minister
A security personnel keeps watch as Hindu devotees trek along mountains near Baltal area towards Amarnath cave. [Representational Image]
A security personnel keeps watch as Hindu devotees trek along mountains near Baltal area towards Amarnath cave. [Representational Image] File: Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: A day after the Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired a high-level meet in New Delhi, a joint conference was held in Srinagar with a focus to increase synergy and coordination between the civil and security agencies for smooth and incident-free ensuing Amarnath Yatra.

The 62-day long yatra to the 3,880 metre high holy cave shrine of Shri Amarnathji is scheduled to start on July 1 from two routes — the traditional 48-km Nunwan route in South Kashmir’s Pahalgam and the 14-km Baltal route in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal. It will culminate on August 31.

“A joint security conference between security forces and civil administration officers was held with an aim to increase synergy, interaction and coordination between the civil and security agencies for the success of the upcoming Amarnath Yatra,” said PRO Defence Srinagar Col Emron Musavi, in an official statement.

Col Musavi said that detailed briefing and discussions provided an “opportunity for deliberations on important issues of mutual interest impacting the security of the Yatra.”

During the meet, all officials stressed the need for harmonious functioning of the government agencies to make the event successful, he stated.

“In view of the prevailing internal security situation, an overview of the security was also undertaken to ensure complete synergy between all security agencies and the civil administration for a coordinated effort towards the achievement of the laid down goals for a smooth and incident free Yatra,” Col Musavi said.

Notably, on June 9, the Union Home Minister had reviewed the security and other arrangements for the Amarnath Yatra at a high-level meeting in the union capital, with the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.

Army’s Northern Commander Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi too had attended the meeting which was also participated by the Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, J&K Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta,  Additional Chief Secretary Home Raj Kumar Goyal, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Principal Secretary to LG Dr Mandeep K Bhandari, J&K Director General of Police Dilbag Singh, Director Intelligence Bureau Tapan Deka and Director Generals of Border Security Force, CRPF and BRO besides other senior officers.

Though the foolproof security and other arrangements for Yatra have always been a priority for the government, this time the security grid anticipates threat perception a notch up. They believe that the successful culmination of the G20 summit in Srinagar has increased the frustration among the subversive elements and hence the desperate attempts on their part are not being ruled out.

During the meeting, the Union Home Minister had directed to ensure adequate security arrangements at cave shrine, twin yatra routes of Chandanwari, Baltal besides Srinagar-Jammu and Jammu-Pathankot National Highways.

Army plays a crucial role in the security arrangements at all these places which witness heavy deployment of Central Para Military Forces (CPMFs), including the additional forces deployed especially for Yatra period, besides JKP personnel.

Describing it as a priority of the central government led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure “comfortable Yatra” for the pilgrims, the Home Minister had issued a slew of directions for smooth arrangements on the route from the airport and railway station to the Yatra base camp, besides foolproof security arrangements.

Directions encompassed air service from Srinagar and Jammu at night for pilgrims; better communication system on the Yatra route; RFID cards for pilgrims to trace their real time location; insurance coverage of Rs 5 lakh for each Amarnath Yatri and Rs 50,000 for each animal and arrangements for tent city, Wi-Fi hotspots on the travel route.

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