- Drone surveillance and RFID chips will also be part of the three-tier security arrangements
- Administration expects the number of yatris to go up this year
- The Yatra is scheduled to start on June 30 and will culminate on August 11
Amarnath yatra: Security forces have made unprecedented security arrangements for the Amarnath yatra as it apprehends a higher threat perception to the pilgrims this year. The Army officer, who did not wish to be identified, said security personnel three to four times more in strength have been deployed around the yatra as there’s credible intelligence of a likely militant strike. “There is an increased threat perception to the Amarnath yatra this year. We generally receive inputs about terrorists targeting the yatra every year, but this year, there are more such inputs,” the officer said.
Despite the administration’s efforts to ensure a safe and secure yatra “we cannot say that we have made it 100 per cent foolproof,” the officer said. Apart from the deployment, drone surveillance and RFID chips will also be part of the three-tier security arrangements for the pilgrims. Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Vijay Kumar had on June 14 said that three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists, who were killed in recent encounters, were sent from Pakistan to attack the annual Amarnath Yatra.
He said the administration expects the number of yatris to go up this year especially since the pilgrimage is taking place for the first time in four years -- it was cancelled midway in 2019 with the Centre’s revocation of J-K special status, and suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID pandemic -- and also because of the increased number of tourist arrivals. The security preparations have also been made keeping these factors in mind, the officer added.
“We are expecting almost two to three times increase in the number of yatris. A lot of preparations have been put into place. The number of security forces personnel deployed on the ground for the smooth conduct of the yatra is three or four times more than the previous years,” he said. The heightened security measures also come in the backdrop of a recent spurt in target killings, including those of workers belonging to the minority community.
On July 10, 2017, seven people were killed and 11 others injured when militants attacked a bus carrying Amarnath yatris in Botengo on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway. The Yatra is scheduled to start on June 30 and will culminate on August 11.