SRINAGAR: At least 40,000 security personnel and latest sophisticated equipments including drones and high-resolution internet CCTVs would be deployed for safety and security of Amarnath yatris during the annual two-month long pilgrimage to cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas, beginning Thursday.
A top security official said 40,000 security men including Police, CRPF, army, BSF and other forces would be deployed for security of the yatris. He said 213 companies of paramilitary forces have been brought from outside state for yatra deployment. They will be assisted by Jammu and Kashmir police and army men.
The security men, he said, would be deployed on Srinagar-Jammu highway from Jammu. The security men will also dot both the yatra routes - traditional Pahgalam route and shortest Baltal route".The yatra vehicles from Jammu would be provided security by bullet proof CRPF vehicles.
The tightest security measures have been put in place to ensure peaceful and smooth conduct of the yatra this year after last year's militant attack on yatris. On July 10 last year, militants had attacked a yatri vehicle at Botengo in south Kashmir's Anantnag district killing eight pilgrims and injuring over a dozen others. Police had blamed Lashkar-e-Toiba militants for the attack.
Inspector General (IG) Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Ravideep Singh Sahi told New Indian Express that adequate and elaborate security measures have been put in place for peaceful conduct of yatra. "We are using motor cycle squads this year at certain locations taking into account the security situation of that particular area," he said. He said they would also be using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags on the vehicles of the yatra. "These will be used in all the yatra vehicles and the movement of the vehicles will be monitored at joint control rooms manned by police, CRPF and army". The RFID tagging of yatri vehicles, he said, would be done at Jammu. In Srinagar, it will be done at Airport, Railway station, TRC and Boulevard.
The IG CRPF also disclosed that drones would also be pressed into service to monitor the movement of yatris. The drones will be deployed on both routes --- Pahalgam and Baltal --- to keep track of movement of yatris. The high resolution internet CCTV cameras have also been put in place along the yatra routes to keep track on yatris and maintain tight vigil.
"The feed of CCTV cameras can be watched at our control rooms," IG CRPF said. He said the nakas, area domination and patrols have been intensified by the Security personnel. Asked whether there is any specific threat that militants may target the yatris, IG CRPF said, "There is no specific threat but general threat. However, we hope that through elaborate security arrangements and through peoples' cooperation, the yatra will pass off smoothly".Sahi said the pilgrims have been directed to follow the cut-off time for different places of the yatra."We have told them to follow the cut-off time religiously and don't violate it," he said.The army, police and CRPF's Quick Reaction Team (QRTs) would be deployed at sensitive and vulnerable places to quickly deal with any situation.