Amarnath Yatra likely to attract heavy rush, will make arrangements for successful pilgrimage: CRPF

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Jammu, Mar 15 (PTI) This year's Amarnath Yatra is likely to witness heavy rush of pilgrims, a top CRPF officer here said on Monday, and asserted that all necessary arrangements will be made to ensure it passes off peacefully.

Inspector General (IG) of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Jammu sector, P S Ranpise said all units and formations have been briefed about the threat posed by sticky bombs, and asked to remain on high alert.

The 56-day yatra to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine of Amarnath in the South Kashmir Himalayas is scheduled to start from the twin routes of Pahalgam and Baltal on June 28 and culminate on August 22.

Talking to reporters after inaugurating a free medical camp organised by the 166th Battalion of the force in Sidhra here, the CRPF IG said, 'It is likely that the yatra this year will attract heavy rush, and keeping this thing in mind, we will study the requirements, and all necessary arrangements will be made for the success of the pilgrimage.' 'We already had a meeting with civil police and projected the requirement... We will study the logistic requirements needed at the Yatri camps and might require more forces,' he added.

To a question on the number of troops required for the pilgrimage, the IG said, 'That will be decided by the government after a review of the overall situation.' The CRPF officer said quick reaction teams (QRTs) would be deployed wherever required, including in yatri camps and along the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway.

'Personnel who will be deployed on yatra duty will also undergo pre-induction training like in the past,' Ranpise said.

He said the CRPF has adequate deployment along the highway and would be utilising drones and other technology during the yatra.

On the recent recovery of sticky bombs and measures taken by the force to counter the threat, he said, 'I agree with police that it is a serious matter as the timer-activated devices are easy to use against civilian and security targets.' 'We have already alerted our units and formations, and briefed them about the new threat. We have to remain alert (to counter the terrorist plan),' the officer said.

He said CRPF convoys always take necessary precautionary measures before proceedings towards their destinations and usually remain protected.

'We have to ensure that our convoys have minimum contact with the public, and there should be no unnecessary halting. Strict vigil and precautionary measures need to be taken (against sticky bombs),' he said.

Hundreds of locals availed the free medical camp.

CRPF spokesperson Shivnandan Singh said the force is organising medical camps on a daily basis in different areas to reach out to the people as part of a goodwill programme. PTI TAS AB IJT