Army Chief General Bikram Singh on Saturday acknowledged that a terror threat exists to the Amarnath Yatra and said that the Army is prepared to tackle any such plot.
“The Army will coordinate with the state and central police to protect pilgrims,” he told the media after the combined graduation parade at the Air Force Academy here on Saturday,
The plan to form a “Strike Corps” force along the Chinese border in the north-east is also in its final phase, he added. He also said that troops involved in rescue operations in Uttarakhand have increased their efforts to bring as many people as possible to safety, as the weather forecast for Sunday has predicted more rain.
Gen Singh stated that the number of troops have been increased from 500 to over 6,000 in the hilly state. “Our men are equipped with medical supplies and food, along with relief material. Saving lives is our top priority,” Singh said.
Asked if he would increase the number of rescue personnel, Singh said, “We have to provide logistics to our men there. Sending in more can be counter productive as we will need more ration for their consumption. Right now, we aren’t facing any infrastructure problems.”
Paratroopers are being sent to rescue those stuck in inaccessible places, the Army Chief said. “We have put together a plan with the help of the Air Force and the Home Ministry,” he said, adding that the only challenge in rescue operations is the mountainous terrain.
No Threat: ANC
The Awami National Conference (ANC) rejected the claims of any threat to the Amarnath yatra, calling it a deliberate attempt to “defame” the hospitality of Kashmiris and to keep visitors away from the state, PTI reported in Srinagar.
“Thepilgrimage was never under any threat in the Valley, “ANC president Khalida Shah, told reporters here.