Heightened security in place for Amarnath pilgrims
Security along the two routes of Amarnath Yatra, beginning July 2, will be tightened in the wake of the killing of eight CRPF personnel in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir.
Top Home Ministry officials are in constant touch with Jammu and Kashmir government for ensuring security to pilgrims going to the cave shrine located in the Himalayan range at a height of 12,756 feet.
As many as 12,500 central paramilitary personnel and 8,000 state policemen will be deployed along the two routes --one from South Kashmir's Pahalgam and the other through Northeast Sonamarg, also a tourist spot.
The Army personnel will also be deployed in peripheral areas besides Quick Reaction Teams, officials said.
Efforts are on to improve the communication networks and other basic facilities along the two Yatra routes so that pilgrims get comfort during the arduous pilgrimage as well as in the case of any emergency.
There is no specific threat to the 48-day long yatra to the cave shrine, but all security arrangements have been made by the state government with the active support of the central government, the official said.
Pampore, the place where the eight CRPF personnel were killed in an ambush by the terrorists in Pulwama district, falls on one of the two Amarnath Yatra routes and hence additional forces will be deployed in all such sensitive places. Eight CRPF personnel were killed and at least 25 others injured when two militants attacked a CRPF convoy in Pulwama district on Saturday.
Home Ministry officials said so far in 2016, there were 79 incidents in Jammu and Kashmir as against 53 in the first six months of 2015. As many as 29 security personnel have been killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir till now as against 19 security men killed in the first six months of 2015. Seven civilians were killed so far in the state while 13 civilians were killed till June 2015.