Press Trust of India

HM Amit Shah to review security situation in JK

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New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah will take stock of the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday in the wake of the recent terror attacks there and is expected to give broad guidelines to intensify counter-terror operations, sources said.

The home minister will also review the preparation for the annual Amarnath pilgrimage set to start on June 29.

Shah will chair the high-level meeting three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a similar meeting where he directed officials to deploy the “full spectrum of counter-terror capabilities” after a spate of terror incidents, including an attack on a bus carrying pilgrims.

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha, Army Chief General Manoj Pande, Army Chief-designate Lt. General Upendra Dwivedi, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, Director of Intelligence Bureau Tapan Deka, Director General of CRPF Anish Dayal Singh, Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police R R Swain and other top security officials are expected to attend the meeting.

Shah is likely to be apprised about the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the deployment of forces along the International Border and Line of Control, infiltration attempts, the status of ongoing anti-terror operations and the strength of terrorists operating in the Union Territory, sources said.

He is expected to give broad guidelines about the immediate action to be taken by the security agencies in line with the prime minister’s directive, they said.

Terrorists struck at four places in Reasi, Kathua and Doda districts of Jammu and Kashmir in four days, killing nine pilgrims and a CRPF jawan and leaving seven security personnel and several others injured.

Two suspected Pakistani terrorists were also killed in an encounter with security forces in Kathua district and a huge quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered from them.

The incidents come ahead of the annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath in the south Kashmir Himalayas, which is set to begin on June 29 and will continue till August 19.

The Amarnath pilgrims travel through two routes — Baltal and Pahalgam — in Jammu and Kashmir. Sources said last year, over 4.28 lakh people visited the cave shrine and the figure could go up to five lakh this time.

All pilgrims are expected to be given RFID cards so that their real-time location can be traced and everyone will be given Rs 5 lakh insurance cover. There will also be an insurance cover of Rs 50,000 for each animal carrying the pilgrims.

Shah is expected to stress on providing smooth arrangements on the route from the airport and railway station to the pilgrimage base camp and proper security of all pilgrims.

Last year, Shah had directed officials to ensure adequate stock of oxygen cylinders and their refilling and asked for the availability of additional teams of doctors. He had ordered adequate medical beds and deployment of ambulances and helicopters to meet any medical emergency.

Following Shah’s order, a better communication system on the pilgrimage routes was ensured and machines were deployed to immediately open routes in case of a landslide.

On Friday, the home minister was briefed by the officials of the ministry, Intelligence Bureau and other security agencies about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the steps taken following the terror incidents, sources said.

On June 13, PM Modi spoke to Shah and discussed the deployment of security forces and counter-terror operations. The prime minister also spoke to Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and took stock of the situation there.

Sinha briefed him on the efforts being undertaken by the local administration.

In the meeting, the prime minister was given a full overview of the security-related situation in the region and was apprised of the counter-terror efforts being undertaken.

A search operation is underway in Jammu and Kashmir to track down and neutralise terrorists after the June 9 attack on the bus carrying pilgrims, officials said.

Security forces also launched a search and cordon operation in Kathua’s Saida Sukhal village on Thursday following information about the presence of two more terrorists. Two suspected Pakistani terrorists and a CRPF jawan were killed in Kathua’s Saida Sukhal village on Wednesday after an over 15-hour operation.

Police on Wednesday released sketches of four terrorists involved in two attacks in Doda district and announced a reward of Rs 20 lakh for information leading to their arrest.

In Reasi district where terrorists attacked the pilgrims’ bus last Sunday, police said 50 suspected people have been detained so far and the search operation has been expanded to remote pockets.

Police had also urged residents of the Jammu region to be vigilant about the movement of suspicious individuals and objects. The advisory was issued following intelligence inputs suggesting the possibility of a terror threat in parts of Rajouri and Jammu districts.

Jammu and Kashmir Additional Director General of Police Vijay Kumar last week directed the security forces to fortify the existing security infrastructure, improve surveillance tactics and bolster personnel deployment along the Amarnath pilgrimage routes.

Kumar also told officials to mitigate potential risks by deploying anti-sabotage teams along the routes to identify and neutralise any potential terror threat. He held a meeting with the officers of the police, Army, Central Armed Police Forces and other agencies and discussed the overall security arrangements to be adopted for the safe, smooth and incident-free conduct of the Amarnath pilgrimage.

Services of specialised forces like the National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force, and Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment may also be used to get vulnerable points along the pilgrimage route mapped so that these can be monitored regularly to enhance the overall safety measures, officials said.

Anti-sabotage teams will be deployed along the Amarnath Yatra route to identify and neutralise any potential terror threat, they said.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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