Jammu: The annual Amarnath Yatra begun today with State minister for health Choudhary Lal Singh flagging off the first batch.The first batch comprises nearly 1,280 pilgrims and was being flagged off from the Yatri Niwas base camp at Bagwati Nagar in Jammu.
As many as 2,400 additional personnel of BSF have been deployed in Jammu and Kashmir to ensure security during the pilgrimage.The BSF troops have been deployed en route the cave shrine along with personnel of other paramilitary forces and state police forces, a senior officer said.
Director General of Border Security Force (BSF) DK Pathak is currently visiting Jammu and Kashmir to take stock of the deployment of forces.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Jammu and Kashmir for two days beginning today during which he will offer prayers at the Amarnath cave shrine.He will be among the first batch of pilgrims to offer prayer at Amarnath.
Singh will take part in a security review meeting in Srinagar on Wednesday along with Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, top civil, police, paramilitary and army officers.
The recent incidents of killings in Sopore districts and attacks on telecom companies and security arrangements for the upcoming Amarnath pilgrimage are expected to come up for discussion in the meeting, officials said.
Home Secretary LC Goyal on Monday visited the Panjtarni halting station on Pahalgam-Amarnath route to take stock of arrangements for the 59-day annual yatra.
Meanwhile, an official statement issued here said that nobody shall be allowed to undertake the journey without a yatra permit which is valid for the day and the route in question.
Pilgrims can secure their permits through selected branches of J&K bank, Punjab National Bank and Yes Bank in various states and union territories.
Pilgrims travelling by helicopter will not be required to register separately. However, the prescribed compulsory health certificate must be produced at the time of boarding the helicopter, the statement said.The two-month long pilgrimage to the cave shrine will end on August 29