MHA to Review Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra Arrangements Amidst Deployment Concerns
Srinagar, June 05: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is set to conduct a high-level review of the Shri Amarnath Ji yatra arrangements this week. The focus of the review will be on the additional deployment of paramilitary forces for the pilgrimage, as a significant number of troops are currently engaged in Manipur.
According to CNS, the Jammu and Kashmir Police is expected to request an additional 300 paramilitary companies for the annual pilgrimage, scheduled to begin on July 1 and last for 62 days until August 31. Additionally, 200 companies will be mobilized internally.
Last year, Jammu and Kashmir received the maximum allocation of 300 paramilitary companies for the pilgrimage, considering it was the first yatra following the abrogation of the state’s special status and its bifurcation into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
However, this year, a substantial number of paramilitary companies have already been deployed in violence-hit Manipur, making it unlikely that they will be withdrawn in the next 15-20 days.
The yatra, which is expected to span a little over two months this year, may have to manage with 250 additional paramilitary companies, as per officials.
A final decision will be made after discussions between the Home Ministry, Jammu and Kashmir Police, and civil administration.
Top police and civil officials from the Union Territory will attend a preliminary meeting organized by the Union Home Ministry this weekend. Union Home Minister Amit Shah will review the yatra arrangements in the middle of this month, and there is a possibility of his visit to Jammu and Kashmir later this month.
While officials assert that the security situation this year is better than the previous year, they emphasize the need for similar arrangements to ensure the security of the pilgrimage.
The Army will play a crucial role in securing the cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas and the twin tracks, as well as safeguarding the Jammu-Srinagar and Jammu-Pathankot National Highways.
Most of the additional paramilitary companies consist of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), while others belong to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), deployed on tracks, and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
The Jammu and Kashmir administration will deploy nearly 200 companies of paramilitary forces from its internal deployment, which has been designated for law and order and anti-militancy operations.
Additionally, the Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP) and JKAP will be deployed for yatra duty.
Last year, the pilgrimage lasted for 44 days, with 3.65 lakh yatris from across the country performing darshan of the holy Ice Lingam of Lord Shiva at the cave shrine. This year, the number of pilgrims is expected to increase.
The pilgrimage was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with only the ‘Chhari Mubarak’ (holy mace of Lord Shiva) taken for darshan while other rituals were performed. In 2019, the yatra was shortened by about a fortnight due to the decisions made by the Central Government on August 5. (CNS)