‘We expect bigger crowd for Amarnath Yatra’

‘Definitely, crowd management will be a challenge, but we will ensure we have enough forces at hand to take care of any situation.’

On Monday, May 16, 2022, Union Home Minister Amit Anilchandra Shah presided over a meeting attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Kumar Doval, Indian Army Chief General Manoj Chandrashekhar Pande and Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha among others, where it was decided that each pilgrim embarking on the Amarnath Yatra would be accorded a Radio Frequency Identification tag for better crowd management.

Each pilgrim will be granted an insurance policy of Rs 500,000 even as the Union Territory grapples with terror attacks directed against civilians.

The Amarnath Yatra, which begins on June 30 and ends on August 11, is taking place after almost three years. It was curtailed in August 2019 before the abrogation of Article 370 and thereafter in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the precautions undertaken by the Union government and J&K administration while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Security arrangements are in full swing, in the process of being finalised. As we speak, we are making adequate arrangements to ensure smooth passage of the Amarnath Yatra,” Ganderbal Senior Superintendent of Police Nikhil Borkar tells Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com from Kashmir.

“We are in the midst of arranging a induction programme for all the security personnel that will be on duty during the course of the pilgrimage,” Borkar adds.

“While I cannot disclose the exact figure I can assure you that the administration is making sufficient manpower available for policing during the two-month period,” says the SSP, an Indian Police Service officer from the 2017 batch.

“Since this year’s Amarnath Yatra is happening after two years, we can expect a bigger crowd than what we saw during the last yatra,” Borkar explains. “Definitely, crowd management will be a challenge, but we will ensure we have enough forces at hand to take care of any situation.”

“The challenges remain the general ones like terrorism, law and order, management of natural disasters, and crowd management. Every year the J&K administration makes sure to add more value to security arrangements than the previous years,” says Borkar.

“We thoroughly study the best practices followed during previous Amarnath yatras and make plans to better the security and safety of the pilgrims on their way to Amarnath,” he adds.

A dedicated team of experts from the intelligence and security services, apart from the central and local government, are studying the terrain along the route and making necessary arrangements for the safety and comfort of the yatris.

“We are doing the recce and inspection of all the spots that need special attention and have already deployed a team for the purpose,” says Borkar.

“It is too early to discuss the exact strength of police personnel that we will be deploying as it is still in the process of being sanctioned. We have sent the requisition request to the Union home ministry and the process of sanctioning more than adequate number of security personnel is already in motion,” SSP Borkar says, adding, “We will get a better clarity on the specifics only during the first week of June.”

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