Union Home Minister Amit Shah will review security arrangements for the Amarnath Yatra during his visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday. "He will chair the Unified Headquarter meeting and review security arrangements as well as related bandobast for the pilgrimage season," a senior functionary from the Ministry of Home Affairs told NDTV.
This will be Amit Shah's first visit to Kashmir as the Union Home Minister. According to the official, the Union Minister will reach Srinagar by late Wednesday afternoon and spend the night at Raj Bhavan.
The state police have been asked to make special arrangements for traffic movement during the Amarnath Yatra. "When convoys ferrying yatris move, vehicular movement on that stretch will be halted. Even otherwise, the convoys would be monitored via red frequency tags," an officer said.
Special focus is also being placed on the condition of roads and facilities along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and trekking routes leading up to the holy cave. Aggressive surveillance will be taken up on both the routes used by pilgrims - the traditional Pahalgam track running through Anantnag district and the shorter Baltal track through Ganderbal district - during the 46-day period. Over a lakh security personnel will work round the clock to ensure security during the Yatra.
"We have sanctioned as many as 303 companies sought by the state," an official said, adding that only 238 companies were provided last year. An officer on the ground said security forces have been adopting an "all-out policy" since the Pulwama terror attack, and it has been largely successful.
Security forces have eliminated as many as 120 terrorists in Kashmir so far this year, as opposed to last year's figure of 71. "All of them were based on local intelligence generated on the ground," an officer said.
Eight Amarnath pilgrims were killed and 19 injured when terrorists attacked a bus in Kashmir's Anantnag district on July 10, 2017.