Jammu, Jun 28: Amid the chants of ‘Bam Bam Bhole’ and ‘Jai Baba Barfani’, the first batch of 2280 Shri Amarnath pilgrims was today flagged off by the Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh from Bhagwati Nagar based Yatri Niwas here this morning for the holy cave shrine situated in South of Himalayas in Anantnag district.
“The first batch of 2280 pilgrims today left the Jammu base camp amid religious chants for the Srinagar to perform Yatra,” police spokesman here said.
He said that the first batch was comprised of 1811 male, 422 females and 47 sadhus.
They left in a convoy of 72 vehicles comprising 26 light motor vehicles, 46 buses of State Road Transport Corporation.
The first bus left the base camp at 0522 hours and the last bus at 0545 hours.
The spokesman said that the yatra is moving smoothly on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway.
Speaking on the occasion Dr Singh welcomed the pilgrims and said that all arrangement have been made by the State Government for the pilgrims.
He said that security is also in place for the pilgrims while other measures have also been taken for smooth and incident free yatra.
This year, the yatra is to be monitored by satellites and drone devices, S N Srivastva, Special DG CRPF had said yesterday.
Meanwhile a squad of security personnel also escorted the convoy of pilgrims.
Minister of State for Tourism Priya Sethi, Legislators Devinder Singh Rana and Charanjeet Singh Khalsa, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Dr. Mandeep Kumar Bhandari, IGP, Jammu SD Singh Jamwal, DDC Jammu Rajeev Ranjan, Commissioner JMC, M. Raju, Director Tourism Smita Sethi , senior officers of the district administration and prominent citizens were present on the occasion.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, earlier on Tuesday, chaired a security review meeting in the wake of the Amarnath Yatra.
Home Secretary, Director of the Intelligence Bureau, Joint Secretary Kashmir and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) officials were present in the meeting.
Providing security for this year’s Yatra has been a major concern for the Home Ministry as the pilgrimage is facing a terror threat, according to an intelligence warning.
The security officials, especially the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), have mobilised the highest level of security measures, including tracking systems through satellites and drones.
AV Chauhan, IG CRPF, on Wednesdasy told that instead on the SSB officials, the whole responsibility of providing security to the pilgrims is has been assigned to the CRPF and that they, along with the Jammu and Kashmir Police have done everything possible to ensure a safe journey for the pilgrims.
The Director General (DG) Border Security Force (BSF) K.K. Sharma had earlier assured that all security measures were taken and the Yatra will pass off peacefully.
“This year the threat perception is exceptionally high, there are disturbances in the Valley. The possibility of the militants disturbing the yatra is very much expected and keeping that in mind, we have made all arrangements. Our deployment is in place, the routes are guarded by Border Security Force (BSF) and Indo Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) meanwhile, the CRPF and local police are also involved in the access control and are proving security to the shrine.”
The Jammu and Kashmir Police has said that they have put all the necessary security arrangements in place so that the pilgrims have a hassle-free and safe journey.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir had earlier said the Amanath Yatra is on the radar of Pakistan, but the Indian Government is prepared to tackle the issue.
“The Amarnath Yatra issue always rakes up at this time of the year, as it is on always on the radar of the Pakistan. The Yatra will be concluded nicely, we have made all the necessary security arrangements and are keeping a close watch.