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Governor, Def Min review security

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Discuss safety of people, Amarnath pilgrims with Civil, Army, Police top brass

Srinagar, June 25: Days ahead of the beginning of Amarnath Yatra, Governor N.N. Vohra and Union Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, reviewed the overall security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir at a high-level meeting held at the Raj Bhavan today.

Gen. Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff; B. B. Vyas and K. Vijay Kumar, Advisors to Governor; B.V. R. Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Dr. S.P. Vaid, DGP; Lt. Gen Ranbir Singh, GoC-in-C, Northern Command; Lt. Gen. A .K. Bhat, GoC 15 Corps; Jiwesh Nandan, Additional Secretary to Defence Minister and Umang Narula, Principal Secretary to Governor participated in the meeting.

Union Defence Minister, had undertaken an aerial Reece of the Amarnath Yatra route, along the Pahalgam axis, and inspected the Yatra arrangements at Baltal, before she arrived at Srinagar. She reviewed the security framework put in place by the Security Forces for  the Amarnathji Yatra and stressed that all Security Forces must act with complete synergy to achieve effective security on the ground.

Reiterating the importance of a secure environment being maintained for enabling a smooth Yatra and encouraging maximum tourist arrivals in the  State,  Defence Minister advised the Security Forces to constantly review and identify any gap in the security arrangements and ensure swift and targeted counter terror responses on the ground.

Governor apprised Defence Minister that while very good coordination exists between all the Security Forces operating in the State, the State Police will continue to review the ground arrangements in the coming days, to ensure effective security.

Earlier, Nirmala Sitharaman, visited the Chinar Corps today to review the overall security situation prevailing in the Valley.

She was briefed about the security and administrative arrangements for the upcoming Amarnath Yatra on ground and was subsequently given an update by the Chinar Corps Commander on the latest security scenario on the Kashmir Valley including details of Counter Infiltration and Counter Terrorist Operations undertaken in the recent past.

She appreciated the effectiveness of the intelligence and operational grids and commended the commanders and troops for the excellent operational successes, which has contributed significantly towards improving the security environment in Kashmir Valley, a defense spokesman said in a statement issued here.

High alert ahead of Amarnath yatra

Pahalgam: The Nunwan Base Camp here has been converted into a fortress ahead of the commencement of the annual Amarnath yatra, which will begin on Thursday, as security for this year’s pilgrimage was heightened to thwart any rerun of last year’s militant attack that left eight pilgrims dead and several injured.

Security forces — mainly police and CRPF personnel — have been deployed in large numbers around the Nunwan Base Camp located at the entry of this buzzing tourist town known as the ‘valley of shepherds’ in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

The first security checkpoint was established and activated near the Langanbal bridge where police personnel check every vehicle entering or leaving Pahalgam, which serves as the base camp for the pilgrimage to the holy cave of Amarnath in the mountainous region of south Kashmir.

Security personnel have been deployed on both sides of the Lidder stream to thwart any attempt of daredevilry by militants.

The next security barricade is adjacent to the Nunwan Base Camp where hi-tech gadgetry will be used to maintain strict vigil.

CCTV cameras, metal detectors and X-ray machines have been installed to prevent smuggling in of contraband. Besides, every person crossing into the tourist resort will be frisked.

Militants, who have publicly assured of inflicting no harm on the devotees in the past, carried out a deadly attack on a bus last year, killing eight Amarnath pilgrims in Anantnag.

“We do not want to leave anything to chance. It was a misfortune that militants succeeded in targeting a bus last year but we are making all out efforts to ensure that it is a smooth sailing this year,” a senior police official said.

Several police, paramilitary and intelligence officers have set up base around Pahalgam to ensure pilgrims are kept out of harm’s way.

“South Kashmir has been on the boil over the past year — both in terms of militancy-related incidents and law and order problems. We have formed a two-pronged strategy to ensure pilgrims are not affected by these kind of incidents,” the official said.

The pilgrims heading to Amarnath — from both Pahalgam and Baltal routes — will have a definite time frame to make it from one base camp to another. A list of “do’s and don’ts” has been issued by the Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board, which manages the annual yatra.

In Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Secretray B V R Subrahmanyam issued a series of instructions to the administration to ensure hassle-free and smooth conduct of the yatra.

These instructions were issued following an extensive tour of the Adviser to the Governor, K Vijay Kumar, and the chief secretary to Baltal and Panjtarni yesterday to review the preparedness and arrangements for the annual yatra.

“Meteorological reports should begin forthwith from today and these would be sent to all concerned,” the chief secretary said.

He also stressed the need to ensure greater communication and coordination between the civil and police administration.

“Food safety is a top priority in the absence of which there can be health issues. Deputy commissioners will ensure food safety officers certify that arrangements are up-to-the-mark and that quality food is available during the yatra period,” he said.

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