Arrangements will be made to ensure incident-free Amarnath Yatra: Kashmir police chief

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Srinagar, Mar 22 (PTI) Fool-proof security arrangements, including round-the-clock monitoring using CCTV cameras and drones, will be in place for the Amarnath Yatra this year to ensure an incident-free pilgrimage, police said on Monday.

Addressing a press conference here, Inspector General (IG), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said the security grid will be enhanced with 24-hour patrolling on the yatra routes.

'We are fully ready for the summer months. We have devised a plan and checkpoints will be increased, some camps will be shifted, and as we will get additional force after elections (in some states of the country), we will plug all the gaps... Pilgrims will not face any problems,' Kumar said.

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.

'Our officers go on the ground to physically check for chances of security lapses and to see whether additional forces are required or where drones can be used and equipment be placed and also for the placement of 24-hour nakas. We are fully alert, and there will be fool-proof security arrangements,' Kumar added.

On the threat of sticky bombs and IEDs, the IG said yatra routes would be fully sanitised, and there would be 24-hour patrolling and nakas.

'This time the (yatra) routes will not be left unsecured even during the night. There will be deployment, mobile bunker vehicle patrolling and NVD (night vision devices), and drones will also be used 24 hours,' he said.

Describing sticky bombs as a problem but 'not a big worry', Kumar said security vehicles will be fitted with 360-degree cameras and distance will be maintained with civilian vehicles.

'I am sure the public will support us fully. There will be a time factor also – a time frame for the yatra vehicles. They will not be allowed in a mix-way,' he said, adding the yatra will be monitored through CCTV cameras and drones round-the-clock.

Asked if there are any specific inputs about militant attacks on the yatra or the security forces during the pilgrimage, the IG said that expecting the militants not to attack was not right.

'Pakistan would always want to continue infiltration, there is no doubt about that. If not through the Line of Control, then through the International Border or Nepal. But, we are fully alert,' he said.

'As far as attacks on nakas are concerned, there are still about 200 terrorists in Kashmir and expecting that there will not be any action by them is not right. They will try and most of them we will stop through preventive intelligence, but when there is an attempt, we will neutralise that,' Kumar said.

The IG said the Army, CRPF and the police are all on alert. PTI SSB MIJ IJT