Union home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi will hold a review meeting on arrangements for the annual Amarnath Yatra amid reports of a marginal dip in the number of pilgrims amid ongoing unrest in Kashmir. The pilgrimage will begin on Thursday and conclude on August 7. As many as 2.15 lakh pilgrims have registered for the annual pilgrimage. In 2016, 2.20 lakh pilgrims offered prayers at the shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas.
Street protests have rocked the Valley since Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani’s killing in July last year. Several security personnel have been killed since April while a deputy superintendent of police was lynched in Srinagar last week.
As many as 21,000 paramilitary personnel in addition to state police forces will be guarding the pilgrimage route. The number of paramilitary personnel deployed is an additional 9,500 for this year.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra and Mehrishi are expected to offer prayers at the cave shrine to mark the beginning of the pilgrimage. The first batch of 2,280 devotees left Jammu for the shrine on Wednesday.