Nearly 450-500 additional companies of CAPFs likely for Shri Amarnath yatra

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JAMMU, June 2: Nearly 450 to 500 additional companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) are likely to be deployed for this year’s 52-day long pilgrimage of holy cave shrine of Shri Amarnath Ji in South Kashmir Himalayas and most of the companies deputed here for Parliamentary elections are likely to be retained.

Annual pilgrimage will start on June 29 and conclude on August 19, lasting 52 days.

However, first batch of pilgrims from Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu will be flagged off on June 28 while the yatris from Baltal and Nunwan base camps in Ganderbal and Anantnag districts respectively will start their journey in the morning of June 29.

Official sources told the Excelsior that out of nearly 600 additional companies of different paramilitary forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir for five-phase Parliamentary elections, some of the companies have left for Punjab, New Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana for election duties while others stayed put for sixth and final phase of polling in the UT held in Anantnag-Rajouri constituency on May 25 and counting of votes scheduled for June 4.

Though few companies are required for deployment at the counting centres, others will keep surveillance in the hinterland to ensure that entire process of the elections passes off peacefully.

“While keeping the additional companies here, the remaining requirements will be met with shortly by deputing more companies,” the officials said.

A total of 450 to 500 additional companies of paramilitary forces will be deployed for the pilgrimage, they added and said in addition Armed Police and other reserve battalions of Jammu and Kashmir Police will also be deputed for 52-day long annual pilgrimage. Army will also be stationed at few vulnerable places including the cave shrine of Shri Amarnath Ji in South Kashmir Himalayas.

Companies from the paramilitary forces will include majority from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) followed by the Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Sashastra Seema Bal among others.

Authorities have been anticipating heavy rush of pilgrims for annual pilgrimage in view of improved security scenario in the Valley. Tourists have also been coming in large numbers in Jammu and Kashmir and pilgrims rush is also expected to be heavy, they said, adding registration of the yatris has also been picking up the countrywide.

As far as deployment for Shri Amarnath yatra is concerned, the officials said it will start around June 20 and will be completed by June 25 well ahead of beginning of the pilgrimage.

However, a decision on review of Shri Amarnath Ji yatra security and other arrangements by the Union Home and Defence Ministries will be taken only after formation of the new Government, they said but added that security plan for the yatra is finalized by the UT Government.

The Election Commission had deputed 635 additional companies of paramilitary forces in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for Parliamentary elections. Five Lok Sabha seats of the UT went to polls in equal number of phases. The elections were incident-free.




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