Press Trust of India

MHA to hold final security review for Amarnath Yatra

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New Delhi: The Union home ministry is expected to undertake a final security review of the forthcoming Amarnath Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir with all the stakeholders here on Tuesday, official sources said.

The meeting will be held in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) at North Block and will be chaired by Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla. The heads of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), such as the CRPF, BSF and ITBP, and senior officials from intelligence, the Army, the Jammu and Kashmir administration and the Amarnath shrine board are expected to attend the meeting, the sources said.

The 62-day annual pilgrimage is scheduled to start on July 1 and continue till August 31.

This is going to be the final security review before the Amarnath Yatra begins, the sources said.

They said the meeting is also expected to discuss the “location-wise” deployment of security forces, including a major change this time of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) not being deployed at the cave shrine and about half-a-dozen locations along the pilgrimage route.

The CRPF has been traditionally guarding the cave shrine, located at a height of 3,888 metres in the south Kashmir Himalayas, for decades now and some vital pilgrim camps en route.

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has been tasked to guard the cave shrine this time and the CRPF will be deployed just below the stairs, the sources said.

The ITBP and BSF troops will also be deployed at six other locations along the route, a task usually rendered by the CRPF.

The sources said this was done keeping in mind the “emerging security threats and challenges” and in accordance with the “requirements of the Jammu and Kashmir Police”.

Officials told PTI that as a huge number of CRPF units have been deployed in violence-hit Manipur and for the panchayat polls in West Bengal, the lead internal security force of the country has been asked to secure the yatra route in the Kashmir valley, where the pilgrims will board buses before starting the uphill climb.

The Amarnath Yatra pilgrims travel through two routes — Baltal and Pahalgam — in Jammu and Kashmir.

Last year, 3.45 lakh people visited the cave shrine and the figure could go up to five lakh this time, the officials said.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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