Amarnath Yatra: Government seeks civil society help to make pilgrimage peaceful, says officials exercising high degree of alertness

Amid fears of possible terror attacks, the Centre today said that it is committed to providing security to all the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and sought help from the civilians to create a peaceful atmosphere in conducting the pilgrimage which will start on June 28 and culminate on August 26. Speaking to news agency ANI, Jitendra Singh who is MoS in the PMO, said that the government has directed security officials to stay alert and take measures to make the two-month-long yatra trouble free. The responsibility is not limited only to government but also civil society. Need to exercise the high degree of alertness keeping in mind possibility of mischief happening from across the border, Taking note of last years attack on Amarnath pilgrims and increased militant activities, the Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to improve security for the pilgrimage. The government has ordered security agencies to follow zero error policy and step up security for the annual Amarnath Yatra which is likely to see the participation of over three lakh pilgrims. Over 25,000 personnel of Army, BSF and Jammu and Kashmir Police have already been stationed at specific locations on the route of the yatra. According to reports, on the Home Ministrys direction, at least 238 companies (nearly 24,000 personnel) of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have also been deployed to guard the route. This is an increase of around 17% from last year. This year, the MHA has also decided to install radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags in vehicles used by pilgrims for better coordination. Besides, drones will also be used by security officials to keep an eye on surveillance of suspicious activities. A 24X7 helpline number 1364 will be started just two days ahead of the commencement of the yatra to assist the pilgrims. CCTV cameras, bulletproof bunkers, dog squads and quick reaction teams are among other things that are part of the governments preparation to make the yatra peaceful this year. Satellites are also likely to track the movement of pilgrims. Last year, at least nine Amarnath pilgrims were killed and 19 others injured in an attack on a bus in Anantnag district. The incident had taken place on July 10 when the pilgrims were returning after performing that rituals at the cave shrine of Lord Shiva.


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