Jammu: First batch of Amarnath Yatra flagged off

Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir): Amid tight security, the first batch of the Amarnath Yatra was flagged off from Jammu’s base camp in Bhagwant Nagar on Tuesday morning.

The Yatra was flagged off by BVR Subramanyam, Chief Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir and BB Vyas and Vijay Kumar, advisors to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Narinder Nath Vohra. “Amarnath Yatra is a very significant annual event. With cooperation of public, all security agencies and development agencies, we have put a scheme in place and are trying our best to address concerns of the pilgrims. We will ensure smooth flow of traffic,” Vijay Kumar said.

The pilgrims from different parts of the country have for the twin base camps of Baltal and Pahalgam in Kashmir, guarded by the security forces in a fleet of vehicles. From there onwards, the pilgrims will start their journey to the 3,880 metre high cave shrine by foot on Thursday. The central government along with the armed forces has beefed up the security for the Amarnath Yatra.

Abhay Vir Chauhan, Inspector General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Jammu Sector, earlier chaired a meeting of senior officials deployed in the region here to review the efficacy of security arrangement for the Yatra. During the meeting, various aspects of the security were discussed upon among which security of Base Camp Bhagwati Nagar and security of Yatra route were emphasised. Chauhan also talked about the necessity of optimum utilisation of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) on Yatra vehicles.

He also reviewed the composition and preparedness of Special Motor Cycle Squad formed by the CRPF for the Yatra. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat also visited Baltal Base Camp to review security arrangements for the Yatra on Monday. Till now nearly two lakh pilgrims from across the country have reportedly registered themselves for the Yatra.

Such security measures have been taken keeping in mind the ceasefire violations from across the border and various other terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, where currently Governor’s Rule has been imposed following Mehbooba Mufti’s resignation as the Chief Minister. Not to forget, on July 10 last year, at least nine Amarnath pilgrims were killed and 19 others were injured in an attack on the bus in Anantnag district.

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