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Machail Yatra suspended, more forces deployed in Jammu areas

Machail yatra in Kishtwar’s Paddar area had started last month and it was to continue till September 5. The chopper service from Kishtwar to Machail too has been suspended, sources added.

Written by Arun Sharma | Jammu | Updated: August 4, 2019 1:40:57 am
After Amarnath Yatra, J&K govt suspends Machail pilgrimage too “We have suspended it till further order,” a senior official added. (Express photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

The ongoing Machail Yatra to the Kaali temple in Padda area of Kishtwar has been suspended with Governor Satya Pal Malik’s administration deploying additional Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in areas of Jammu division along the borders of the Kashmir Valley.

“Following a message from the state administration last night that the Machail Yatra shall be stopped, we have suspended it till further orders,’’ a senior official said, adding that the chopper service from Kishtwar to Machail has also been suspended.

The deployment of additional forces, including personnel of the BSF, CRPF and Rapid Action Force, has begun in areas of border Rajouri and Poonch districts in Pir Panjal region and Kishtwar-Doda and Ramban districts of Chenab Valley, according to sources who did not wish to be named. “The new forces are being deployed in towns and areas falling on their periphery,” they said, pointing out that this is apart from the security forces already deployed in forests and hilly areas which act as a dividing line between Jammu province and Kashmir Valley.

Pointing out that the deployment of additional forces had begun two-three days ago, local residents said that CRPF personnel have set up a picket at Buffliaz bridge checking vehicles plying on the Mughal road which connects Kashmir’s Shopian district with Poonch in Jammu province. Another picket has come up at Dehra Ki Gali, which is on the road connecting Rajouri district with Mughal road at Buffliaz, they said. Bunkers and pickets have resurfaced over the past few days at various places in Bhaderwah, Thathri and Doda towns after nearly 15 years, they said.

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A senior police officer who did not wish to be named confirmed that bunkers are being set up in Doda and other places as it was done in Kishtwar, where a BJP leader and RSS functionary were gunned down in separate incidents last year and this year. Village defence committees have also been set up by the police in Kishtwar.

However, in the plains of Jammu, Samba and Kathua, there is no additional security forces deployment so far, sources said. Additional forces, which had arrived as part of security arrangements for the Amarnath Yatra, continue to be stationed there.

The Machail yatra in Kishtwar’s Paddar area started last month and it was scheduled to end on September 5.

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