300 additional companies of paramilitary forces to be deployed in Valley for Amarnath Yatra

Maximum number of companies will be from CRPF. We are expecting some 150 companies of CRPF to arrive for Yatra duty.

Srinagar: Amid five-tier security cover, at least 300 additional companies of security forces will be deployed for the peaceful conduct of the annual Amarnath Yatra commencing on June 30 this year, officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs said Wednesday.

The top brass of security has ensured the deployment of forces in various layers while pilgrims will be provided with wrist bands fitted with microchips, as part of the renewed security measure.

Officials in the MHA said that at least 300 additional companies will be deployed for the incident-free pilgrimage.

“Maximum number of companies will be from CRPF. We are expecting some 150 companies of CRPF to arrive for Yatra duty. The process has already started as every day, one to five companies arrive in Kashmir,” they said, adding that remaining companies will be from BSF, ITBP, Sahastra Seema Bal (SSB) and CISF.

From BSF, 80 odd companies are expected to reach Srinagar by May end while there will be 30 to 40 companies each from ITB and SSB besides a good number of personnel from CISF.

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This is in addition to the help to be extended by the army in Kashmir for the smooth conduct of annual pilgrimage.

A CRPF company comprises 100 to 135 men and is commanded by a commanding officer. This year, the J&K government is expecting a record number of pilgrim arrivals—a historic pilgrimage.

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An official said that primary focus will remain on highways—Srinagar-Jammu and Srinagar-Ganderbal to ensure smooth flow of vehicles ferrying pilgrims.

“The pilgrim vehicles will be fitted with a RIFD chips that will remain under the radars connected with respective control rooms. No vehicle carrying pilgrims will be allowed to cross a particular point after a cut-off timing,” a senior official, privy to the security plan for the Amarnath pilgrimage revealed.

“At the registration counters, every devotee will be provided with a wristband with a microchip connected with the satellite towers installed at various locations. The movement of both, devotees as well as vehicles ferrying them, will remain under constant watch at the respective control rooms with the help of satellite, GPRS, micro-chips and RFID chips.”

He said it was for the first time that the five-tier security cover will remain in place for the pilgrimage. “All the 300 additional companies of security forces will be deployed for the peaceful conduct of pilgrimage this year,” he said.

Explaining the five-tier security plan, he said deployment will remain on highways, sensitive areas in districts, Quick Reaction Teams (of police and CRPF), Mobile Vehicle Check Posts (MVCPs), and technical monitoring.

Besides, he said 200 CCTV vehicles have been installed at the base camps and vulnerable slots identified by the security agencies that include “some spots on highways.”

A security official said that extra measures have been taken to prevent any untoward incident during the 43-day long pilgrimage period starting June 30. “More focus will remain on highways and sensitive areas which have been taken care of,” he said.

A source in the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), the managing body for the AmarnathYatra, said that at least 400 CCTVs have been installed at vulnerable points and also at the both base camps—Chandanwari in Pahalgam area of Anantnag district and also at Baltal in Ganderbal district.

“Pilgrims will be provided with wrist bands fitted with microchips at the registration counters to ensure the monitoring of their movement. Similarly, the pilgrim vehicles will also be fitted with chips to keep a close track on them,” he said.

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