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Amarnath Yatra: J&K Governor’s Advisor Says Threat Perception High, Forces on High Alert

More than two lakh pilgrims have registered for the annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas, which begins on Thursday. The 40-day yatra will conclude on August 26.

Arunima | CNN-News18Arunima24

Updated:June 26, 2018, 9:41 PM IST
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Amarnath Yatra: J&K Governor’s Advisor Says Threat Perception High, Forces on High Alert
File photo of the Amarnath Yatra. (Getty Images)
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Jammu: A day before the first batch of pilgrims set off for the Amarnath Yatra from the Jammu base camp, advisor to Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra, K Vijay Kumar, said that security forces are leaving no stone unturned to ensure a safe passage for them.

In his first interview since taking over as the advisor, Kumar said that incidents of grenade hurling, assassination of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari and soldier Aurangzeb over the last couple of weeks has heightened the threat perception around the yatra this year, but forces were working overtime to make it safe.

"Some undesirable elements are still out in the open and therefore we cannot take the threat perception lightly," Kumar said. He along with chief secretary Subramanyam, top cop SP Vaid and other senior officials have been constantly touring the Baltal and Pahalgam routes to check on the arrangements.

More than two lakh pilgrims have registered for the annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas, which begins on Thursday. The 40-day yatra will conclude on August 26.

This year, the government has created 24x7 ‘morchas’ or motorcycle squads that will prevent yatra vehicles from straying into main towns from the highways to prevent a repeat of last year, when a bus carrying Gujarati and Marathi pilgrims was attacked in Anantnag.

Seven people had died in the terror attack, the first such attack in over a decade and a half.

Kumar told News18 that police has worked out a method to identify vehicles that are coming alone or in groups. The home ministry has also directed home ministry to ensure that busses carrying pilgrims have radio frequency identification tags (RFID) to help track them.

“It is the smaller cars, private vehicles that might become a security risk. Steps are being taken to safeguard them too," Kumar said.

Apart from the vigil, the security forces have also gone on the offensive against terror outfits, and started taking out top militants in the state to hit the organizational capability of these groups.

The Governor’s advisor said the government was aware that the heightened security will inconvenience people, and therefore, instructions have been given to forces to be courteous. "Security with courtesy is the mantra J&K police and paramilitary will follow," Kumar said.
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