Amarnath Yatra: 500 companies of central police forces to reach Jammu to ensure safety of pilgrims

Home Minister Amit Shah has called for a review meeting on Sunday with top officials to assess the situation in J&K. He is likely to give broad guidelines to intensify counter-terror operations.
Devotees on the Amarnath Yatra  (File photo | AP)
Devotees on the Amarnath Yatra (File photo | AP)

NEW DELHI: Ahead of the upcoming Amarnath Yatra beginning June 29, the Centre has decided to further strengthen the security grid in Jammu & Kashmir by moving over 500 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to the Union Territory in the backdrop of a recent spate of terror attacks in the Jammu region.

Sources said that a meeting of senior officials of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), intelligence and security agencies assessed the requirement and accordingly decided to deploy more than 500 companies of the CAPFs including the CRPF, the BSF, the ITBP and the CISF on the route for the Amarnath Yatra. All the required forces would be moved from Punjab to Jammu, they added.

Besides 500 battalions of CAPFs, a decision has also been taken to rope in specialised forces like the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment. Anti-sabotage teams will be deployed along the Amarnath Yatra route to identify and neutralise any potential terror threat.

Meanwhile, sources said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah has called a meeting on Sunday to take stock of the security situation in J&K in the wake of the recent terror attacks there and is expected to give broad guidelines to intensify counter-terror operations. The Home Minister is also expected to review the preparation for the annual Amarnath Yatra, which is scheduled to begin on June 29, they added.

The Home Minister will hold the meeting three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a similar meeting where he asked officials to deploy the “full spectrum of counter-terror capabilities” in view of the recent terror attacks, including an ambush on a bus carrying pilgrims.

Devotees on the Amarnath Yatra  (File photo | AP)
PM Modi orders full spectrum counter-terror measures in J&K; DGP warns local collaborators of severe consequences

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, J&K’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, Army Chief General Manoj Pande, Army Chief-designate Lt. General Upendra Dwivedi, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, Director of Intelligence Bureau Tapan Deka, Director General of CRPF Anish Dayal Singh, Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police RR Swain and other top security officials are expected to attend the meeting.

During the meeting, the Home Minister will be briefed about the security situation in the Union Territory, the details of deployment of forces along the International Border and Line of Control, infiltration attempts, the status of ongoing anti-terror operations, the strength of terrorists operating there and also the deployment plan along the Amarnath Yatra route, sources said.

They went on to add that Shah is expected to give broad guidelines about the immediate action to be taken by the security agencies in line with the direction given by the Prime Minister, they said.

Terrorists struck at four places in Reasi, Kathua and Doda districts of J&K in four days, killing nine pilgrims and a CRPF jawan and leaving seven security personnel and several others injured.

Two suspected Pakistani terrorists were also killed in an encounter with security forces in Kathua district and a huge quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered from them.

The incidents took place nearly a fortnight before the annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath in the south Kashmir Himalayas, which will continue till August 19.

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The New Indian Express