Union Home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi chaired a meeting on Tuesday to review the security arrangement for Amarnath Yatra, during which the threats of stone-pelting mobs and militants were discussed. The annual pilgrimage will start from June 29 and will continue till August 7. More than 27,000 security personnel will be deployed along the route, said the home ministry.
“There are equal threats from militants and stone pelters. All threats are being taken care of,” Advisor in the Home Ministry Ashok Prasad said when asked if stone-pelting mobs could be the biggest threat to the 40-day pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine located at a height of 3,888 metres. In response to a question on the possible impact of the destruction of Pakistan Army posts by the Indian Army, Prasad said that security forces will take into consideration all issues before finalising the security plan. “Definitely, we will make all efforts to ensure a peaceful pilgrimage,” Prasad added.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has sought around 27,000 security personnel from the central government, mostly CRPF personnel. Last year, around 20,000 paramilitary personnel, besides the state police, were deployed along the route. Though there are no specific threats to the pilgrims, the central and state governments are taking no chances and ordered all possible steps to ensure foolproof security, officials said.
During the meeting, Mehrishi is said to have directed all agencies concerned to keep a close watch and maintain effective coordination. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary B B Vyas, Director General of Police S P Vaid and top officials of the home ministry attended the meeting. Notwithstanding the continuing unrest in the Kashmir Valley, there has been no drop in the number of devotees who have enrolled for the arduous trek, an official said. So far, around 1.80 lakh pilgrims have registered. Around 2.20 lakh pilgrims had offered prayers last year.