New Delhi: Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Friday reviewed the security preparedness for the Amarnath Yatra scheduled to begin on June 30 after a gap of two years, officials said.
The annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine located in the upper reaches of south Kashmir could not be carried out in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, while it was cut short in 2019 just before the abrogation of Article 370.
The home secretary reviewed the security preparedness for the Amarnath Yatra with top officials of paramilitary forces and the Jammu and Kashmir administration, the officials said.
About 10,000 paramilitary personnel (100 companies) in addition to Jammu and Kashmir Police are expected to be deployed along the two pilgrimage routes via Pahalgam and Baltal, they said.
About three lakh pilgrims are likely to take part in the yatra, which is expected to end on August 11.
CRPF Director General and BSF DG Pankaj Singh, along with other officers, attended the meeting physically, while Jammu and Kashmir officials attended it through video conference.
The Amarnath pilgrimage will be a big security challenge for the government as Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing a number of targeted killings in recent weeks.
There has been a spurt in attacks on non-Muslims and outsiders living in Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, in August 2019.
On Thursday, terrorists killed a Kashmiri Pandit, Rahul Bhat, in Budgam district.
Bhat is the second Kashmiri Pandit to have been killed by terrorists in the last seven months.
A prominent member of the Kashmiri Pandit community, chemist Makhan Lal Bindroo, was shot dead by terrorist on October 6, 2021 in Srinagar.
As many as 14 people belonging to Jammu and Kashmir’s minority Hindu community, including Kashmiri Pandits, have been killed by militants in various parts of Kashmir between August 2019 and March 2022.
Those targeted included prominent businessmen, sarpanchs and block development council members.
As many as 439 terrorists and 109 security personnel were killed in 541 terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir after Article 370 was repealed on August 5, 2019 till March this year, according to data provided by the government to Parliament.