SRINAGAR: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday visited Kashmir to review the security situation and arrangements for forthcoming Amarnath yatra. After arriving in Srinagar, Sitharaman and General Rawat were briefed about overall security situation in the State especially in Valley by GoC 15 Corps Lt Gen A K Bhatt at Badamibagh headquarters in Srinagar.
The GoC briefed defence minister and General Rawat about the resumption of anti-militancy operations in the Valley after end of Ramadan ceasefire, sources said. He informed them that "Operation All Out" against militants has been resumed and at least two of the most wanted militants were killed in two encounters in south Kashmir in four days.
The GoC also briefed defence minister and army chief about the measures taken to ensure smooth conduct of Amarnath yatra and safety of yatris during the two month pilgrimage, which begins on June 28. Sources said GoC informed them that additional security measures including deployment of security men on the entire yatra routes in Kashmir and deployment of hi-tech gadgets to keep track on the movement of yatris. The vehicles carrying yatris to the Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas would be fitted with RFID tags to help security forces to keep a real time track on their movements.
The defence minister, sources said, expressed satisfaction over the security measures taken for smooth conduct of the yatra. She directed them to act with complete synergy to achieve effective security on the ground. ence minister also appreciated the effectiveness of intelligence and operational grids and commended the officers and troops for excellent operational successes, which has contributed significantly towards improving security environment in the Valley. She also conducted an aerial reece of Amarnath yatra route, along Pahals, and inspected the Yatra arrangements at Baltal.
Sources said tightened security measures would be put in place for yatra in view of the militant attack on yatris last year.
At least eight yatris were killed and about a dozen injured in militant attack on a bus carrying 60 yatris in south Kashmir's Anantnag district. Sources said security agencies apprehend that after suffering heavy casualties in security forces operations, militants may attack the yatris to make their presence felt. "The additional paramilitary companies would be brought to Kashmir for tight security of yatra and yatris," they said.
Later, Defence minister, army chief and Governor N N Vohra reviewed overall security scenario in the State. Sitharaman reiterated importance of a secure environment being maintained for enabling a smooth Yatra and encouraging maximum tourist arrivals in the State. She advised security forces to constantly review and identify any gap in security arrangements and ensure swift and targeted counter militancy responses on the ground.