Amarnath Yatra begins amid tight security
The much-awaited Amarnath Yatra kicked off on Thursday with the first batch of pilgrims departing for the Holy Cave.
Jammu: The first batch of over 3,000 pilgrims on Thursday left for the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas amidst tight security from Jammu, an official said.
The batch comprising of 3,157 yatris, including 563 women and 37 children, was flagged off by state Tourism Minister G A Mir at Jammu base camp, he said.
The batch left from Yatri Niwas in a fleet of 96 vehicles, including 75 buses and 21 LMVs at around 5:45 am Thursday amid tight security and in the presence of several civil and police officials.
As per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) only 15,000 yatris will be allowed to move towards the Amarnath cave shrine everyday -- 7,500 from Phelgam and an equal number from Baltal.
Keeping in view the huge influx of unregistered devotees visiting the state, civil administration has set-up spot registration counters at different places.
"However, the spot-registration will be subject to the availability, as only 15,000 yatris will be allowed for the pilgrimage every day," a tourism official informed.
Meanwhile, elaborate security arrangements have been made for the safe passage of the yatra, with sufficient security personnel being deployed en route, to foil any evil designs of militants, a senior police official said.
The vehicles coming in to the state are being checked at Lakhanpur border and are issued a `Traffic Check Sticker`, besides a high-level surveillance is being done with police forces checking the vehicles at different spots across the city, he said.
However, the vehicles with the `Traffic Check Sticker` are not re-checked en route their destination.