Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir), June 29, 2017 - The annual Yatra to the Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas commenced today amid tight security, from both the Pahalgam and the Baltal routes.
The first batch of pilgrims was flagged off in Jammu yesterday by J&K Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh for base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal.
The Shri Amarnath Shrine Board official said the pilgrims after reaching the base camps, were allowed to proceed towards the cave shrine to have glimpse of the Holy Shiv Lingam. He said 6,097 pilgrims had paid obeisance at the Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Amarnath on the 1st day of the Yatra.
In view of tension in the Kashmir valley and surge in militant violence, elaborate security measures have been put in place by the Government for smooth and peaceful conduct of Shri Amarnath Yatra.
Sources said this year the security measures are unprecedented in view of threat perception. Paramilitary forces and army men have been deployed on both Pahalgam and Baltal routes besides Srinagar-Jammu highway to ensure safe movement of the pilgrims. According to sources, drones and satellite tracking systems have been put in place for peaceful conduct of Shri Amarnath Yatra. They said besides CCTVs have been installed at sensitive places on Srinagar-Jammu highway and along the Yatra routes.
The Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) of security forces are on standby and are ready to assist any kind of situation. Control room has been set up, where security officials screen the footage from drones and CCTVs 24x7 to detect any suspicious activities, movement or object.
Sources said jammers, bullet-proof vehicles and dog squads have also been pressed into service to ensure safety of Shri Amarnath pilgrims..
Earlier today, Governor N. N. Vohra, Chairman of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, paying obeisance at the Sanctum Sanctorum and participating in the Pratham Pooja ceremony. He prayed for sustained peace, harmony, progress and prosperity in the country.
After his early morning visit to the Shrine, the Governor reviewed the arrangements made for the pilgrims at the Yatra Shrine Camp and conveyed the Shrine Board’s thanks to the State Government, Army, Central Armed Police Forces, State Police and all the other concerned agencies for their support and cooperation. He stressed the need for effective supervision and round the clock monitoring by the Camp Directors and all the functionaries involved in the management of the Yatra for ensuring smooth conduct of the pilgrimage.
Meanwhile, CEO of the Shrine Board, has once again appealed to the intending Shri Amarnathji Yatris to embark on the pilgrimage only after getting medically checked and obtaining a valid Yatra Permit. This would ensure against any avoidable inconvenience to them.
CEO stated that the Board had issued a detailed Advisory of Do’s and Don’ts for the Yatris visiting the Shri Amarnathji Shrine and the Yatris need to strictly adhere to these guidelines as they would require to undertake an arduous trek through high mountain ranges under uncertain weather conditions.