Amarnath Yatra: First batch of pilgrims flagged off amid unprecedented security

The first batch of Amarnath pilgrims was flagged off by BVR Subramanyam, Chief secretary J&K, BB Vyas Advisor to J&K Governor and Vijay Kumar, Advisor to J&K Governor.

Amarnath Yatra: First batch of pilgrims flagged off amid unprecedented security
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JAMMU: The first batch of pilgrims for the annual Amarnath Yatra was flagged off from Jammu's base camp in Bhagwant Nagar on Wednesday amid unprecedented security.

''The first batch of Amarnath Yatra has been flagged off from Jammu base camp. It was flagged off today by BVR Subramanyam, Chief secretary J&K, BB Vyas Advisor to J&K Governor and Vijay Kumar, Advisor to J&K Governor,'' ANI confirmed.

''Amarnath Yatra is a very significant annual event. With the cooperation of public, all security agencies and development agencies, we have put a scheme in place and are trying our best to address concerns of the yatris and ensure smooth flow of traffic,''Vijay Kumar, Advisor to J&K Governor, said.

The pilgrims from different parts of the country left for the twin base camps of Baltal and Pahalgam in Kashmir, guarded by the security forces in a fleet of vehicles this morning.

From there onwards, the pilgrims will start their journey to the 3,880-metre high cave shrine by foot on Thursday.

Inspector General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Jammu Sector Abhay Vir Chauhan chaired a meeting of senior officials deployed in the region here to review the efficacy of security arrangement for the Amarnath Yatra.

During the meeting, various aspects of the security were discussed upon among which security of Base Camp Bhagwati Nagar and security of Yatra route were emphasised.

Chauhan also talked about the necessity of optimum utilisation of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) on Yatra vehicles. He also reviewed the composition and preparedness of Special Motor Cycle Squad formed by the CRPF for the Yatra.

The Amarnath pilgrims also appeared satisfied with the security and other arrangements made by the Centre and state government. ''We are very happy that we are going for Amarnath Yatra. We don't fear anything here. All security arrangements are up to the mark. Every year there are improvements in the security,'''one of the pilgrims said.

Pilgrims in the first batch of Amarnath Yatra were welcomed by locals and officers of the district administration, including Deputy Commissioner Udhampur Ravinder Kumar and SP Udhampur Faisal Qureshi, upon their arrival in Tikri.  

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat also visited Baltal Base Camp to review security arrangements for the Yatra on Monday.

Till now nearly two lakh pilgrims from across the country have reportedly registered themselves for the Yatra.

Such security measures have been taken keeping in mind the ceasefire violations from across the border and various other terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, where currently Governor's Rule has been imposed following Mehbooba Mufti`s resignation as the Chief Minister.

Not to forget, on July 10 last year, at least nine Amarnath pilgrims were killed and 19 others were injured in an attack on the bus in Anantnag district. 

(With ANI inputs) 

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