Security personnel guard the Yatri Niwas base camp in Jammu.pti
Security personnel guard the Yatri Niwas base camp in Jammu.pti

40,000 security personnel deployed in J&K ahead of Amarnath Yatra

  • The Indian Army, CRPF, and Jammu and Kashmir Police have been tasked with providing security to the pilgrims
  • Union home minister Amit Shah also conducted security review meetings during his two-day visit to the state

The Centre has deployed as many as 40,000 security personnel as part of its multi-tier security arrangement for the Amarnath Yatra with just two days to go for the pilgrimage to be flagged off from Jammu and Kashmir, along the Baltal-Pahalgam route in Kashmir up to the shrine.

Union home minister Amit Shah also conducted security review meetings during his two-day visit to the state to assess the preparedness for the pilgrimage, as part of efforts to ensure that the pilgrimage goes on smoothly.

The Centre is leaving no stone unturned in the wake of the 14 February Pulwama suicide blast and the subsequent attempts on security forces.

The Indian Army, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and the Jammu and Kashmir Police have been tasked with providing security to the pilgrims and road opening parties have already begun sanitizing the routes.

Access control checking gadgets will be deployed both along the Pahalgam and Baltal routes, with a specified barcode storing the information of all pilgrims.

The CRPF has also procured upgraded RFID (radio frequency identification) tags that it will use to mark civilian vehicles plying on the route.

Shah has also said that all convoys should be dispatched according to schedule, with all barricades being marked and manned at all times. Barricades, Shah said, will also be used at all lateral entry points during convoy movement.

Intelligence units however, are wary about the looming threat of radio frequency improvised explosive devices (RF-IED) to the Amarnath Yatra, despite the Centre throwing a security blanket over it, especially as alarms bells have been sounded in the Valley over increased use of the technique by terror groups.

A terrorist attack on the yatra in July 2017 killed seven pilgrims and injured 19.

“RF-IEDs are triggered through a remote-controlled device or a cellular device and can be detonated from a distance. They are different from pressure IEDs used by Naxals where even a fraction of weight on the IED can detonate it. The threat from RF-IEDs is omnipresent because it can cause extensive damage to life and property," said an intelligence official, seeking anonymity.

A person familiar with the Yatra’s security arrangements stated that they were “alert and vigilant and keeping abreast with any intelligence tip-off."

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