On the first day of Amarnath Yatra, Army said a multi tier security arrangement, round the clock domination of the area with the latest night vision devices are in place to ensure incident free Yatra this year.
The first batch of pilgrims left for the holy Cave from Nunwan base camp in Pahalgam and Baltal base camp in Ganderbal in the early hours today.
The Army said it has also deployed its elite Special Forces, quadcopters and other aerial assets to keep a constant monitoring of the entire route.
This was disclosed by two senior Army officers while briefing reporters at the two Yatra base camps at Pahalgam in Anantnag and Baltal in Ganderbal districts.
“The Indian Army has been steadfast in its preparations, in sync will all the other stakeholders- the Shrine Board, Jammu and Kashmir Police, the Central Armed Police Forces and last but not the least, the civil administration,” the Commander of Army’s 1 sector Rashtriya Rifles Amandeep Malhi told reporters in Pahalgam.
He said multi layered security arrangements were in place to ensure a peaceful Yatra.
“There is a 24x 7 seamless integrated surveillance plan in place,” he said.
The Commander said they have put in assets which include the quadcopters, other aerial assets as well as the night vision devices to have constant monitoring of the entire route.
“Apart from this, our deployment and domination caters for any threats emanating from the higher reaches as well as the hinterland and the valley floor,” Brigadier Malhi said.
At Baltal, Brigadier Atul Rajput of 3 Sector RR assured the devotees that till the last Yatri is back from the pilgrimage , the Indian Army would ensure security, safety and well-being of all Yatris always and every time.
He said Special Forces of the Army are keeping a watch over the Yatra route from vantage locations.
“We also have deployed snipers, anti drone systems, bomb disposal and dog squads to ensure a safe and secure yatra,” he said.
Brigadier Rajput said the Indian Army has traditionally been involved in ensuring safe and secure Yatra for the pilgrims.
“This year too, the army has worked with all other stakeholders to put in a place a robust and dynamic security architecture for the Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra. We have ensured multi tier security arrangements to include domination of the mountains, sanitization of the yatra routes and round the clock domination of the area with the latest night vision devices,” he said.
He said the Army has also made available helipads at multiple locations for medical emergencies and to cater for other airlift requirements for the yatra.
“A whole nation approach has been followed to synergize the efforts. Indian Army, Jammu and Kashmir Police, Shrine Board, BSF, ITPP, SSB all forces have worked together to make this event a success,” he said.
The officer said they conducted joint exercises and mock drills to ensure seamless and successful rescue operations if and when required.
Army said the last years lessons learnt and the feedback available after the cloudburst incident of mid July have all been incorporated in the plans.
Last year, over a dozen pilgrims died in a cloudburst near the holy cave shrine of Amarnath.
“Based on the experience of the cloudburst last year during the Yatra, rescue teams and earthmover equipment have been placed at the holy cave and multiple locations and enroute for emergencies. Modern equipment to meet contingencies is also available for effective response,” Brigadier Rajput said.
The Army said security forces have been advised to ensure that there is minimum inconvenience to the local population in executing their day-to-day routine.