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On Maiden Official Visit to Valley, Amit Shah Reviews Amarnath Yatra Security Arrangements

The home minister directed the forces to be “fully alert and take all preventive steps to ensure a violence-free yatra”.

Aakash Hassan | News18.com@Aakashhassan

Updated:June 26, 2019, 10:51 PM IST
On Maiden Official Visit to Valley, Amit Shah Reviews Amarnath Yatra Security Arrangements
Union Home Minister Amit Shah chairs a meeting to review the security arrangements for the Amaranth Yatra, in Srinagar on Wednesday. Governor Satya Pal Malik, the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and other senior officials are also seen. (PTI) (PTI6_26_2019_000189B)

Srinagar: On his first visit to Kashmir as the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah on Wednesday held a review meeting of security arrangements for Amarnath Yatra, directing forces to be “fully alert and take all preventive steps to ensure a violence-free yatra”.

Shah, who is on a two-day visit to the Valley, met the state administration and the joint command of forces at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC), Srinagar. The home minister is scheduled to meet a delegation of BJP leaders and family members of police inspector, Irshad Khan, who was killed in a militant attack recently in south Kashmir’s Anantnag.

Union Special Secretary Home (Internal Security) AP Maheshwari briefed reporters in the evening about Shah’s visit. “The home minister has directed the forces that there should be no laxity and strict enforcement of the SOP (standard operating procedure) should be ensured. Senior officers should personally supervise the arrangements of the yatra,” Maheshwari told reporters in Srinagar.

Shah also directed forces to ensure optimum use of latest technologies and gadgets not only for the security of the yatra, but also to facilitate movement of devotees and tourists. Maheshwari said the home minister had asked the forces to be specifically attentive towards anti-sabotage as well as anti-subversion drills and access control procedures.

Regarding the movement of yatra convoys, the minister said that there should be “timely dispatch of convoys” and “after cut-off timings, barricades should be erected at suitable locations and no differentiation should be made between yatris and tourists.”

“Besides attending to medical emergency, preparedness must also be ensured to deal with any type of calamity or contingency,” Shah said, adding that “specialised units and trained personnel should be in place with due focus on prescribed drills for the purpose.”

Directing officials that the best possible facilities should be provided in base camps, Shah also laid emphasis on essential facilities for those deputed on arrangements of the yatra, and directed that all duty personnel should ensure proper conduct.

“There should be no complacency on part of the security forces or duty staff at any point of time during the whole yatra period,” Maheshwari said. He added that while the security forces and various agencies continued to take strict action against miscreants, there was a need to cover all sensitive and vulnerable places, including possible points of infiltration across the state, to obviate any risk to the yatra.

Shah also appreciated the “wholehearted cooperation” of locals in “successful conduct of the yatra.” Maheshwari was accompanied by Additional Secretary (Home) Gyanesh Kumar. Kumar said the home minister reviewed developmental projects and directed officials to devise projects for the poorest people of the state and maintain an equal balance between the regions — Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

Amarnath Yatra is scheduled to start on July 1 and end on August 15. In 2017, militants had launched an attack on some pilgrims in Anantnag killing eight of them.

| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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