Mon, 23 May 2022

New Delhi [India], May 13 (ANI): Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Friday held a high-level meeting to review the security preparedness for Amarnath Yatra as the annual pilgrimage is all set to commence on June 30 after a gap of two years.

Bhalla convened the meeting at the Home Ministry with officials concerned with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Jammu and Kashmir administration, senior state police officers and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director General Kuldeep Singh, Border Security Force (BSF) chief Pankaj Singh as well as Army officers.

Amarnathji Shrine Board members also participated in the meeting through video conferencing.

Bhalla, sources said, was apprised of security updates and department of Central Armed Police Forces on specific locations during the pilgrimage as well as the situation in the region.

The meeting was organised almost a month after his day-long visit to Jammu and Kashmir in which he took stock of the preparedness of the Amarnath Yatra. Bhalla visited Jammu and Kashmir on April 15.

Sources in the government said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah is also expected to hold a security review meeting very soon regarding the pilgrimage after the second round of review-meet completed by Bhalla on Friday.

Resuming the Amarnath pilgrimage is a challenging task as Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed several incidences of targeted killings in the last few months by terrorists following which the Ministry of Home Affairs asked security agencies operating in Jammu and Kashmir to enhance counter-terror operations.

However, online registration for Amarnath Yatra 2022 started on April 11 and the Home Ministry has already sanctioned nearly 50 companies of CAPF for the purpose to provide security during the pilgrimage as Jammu and Kashmir is expecting nearly three lakh pilgrims visiting the Amarnath cave shrine this year.

While online registration has already begun, the pilgrimage is scheduled to be held for 43 days between June 30 and August 11.

Amarnath shrine pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine of Lord Shiva, located in the upper reaches of the Himalayas, is held from the twin routes of Pahalgam and Baltal.

The Jammu and Kashmir government had cancelled the annual Amarnath pilgrimage due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation in 2020 and 2021. For the first time, the Amarnath Yatra was cancelled in 2019 a few days ahead of the revocation of Article 370, and 35A was withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir and all travellers were asked to return as soon as possible. (ANI)

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