Amarnath Yatra: First litmus test for Amit Shah
New Delhi, June 03: The 46-day-long Annual Amarnath Yatra will begin from July 1, the day of Masik Shivratri, and would conclude on August 15, the day of Shravan Purnima.
According to the officials, over 1.10 lakh devotees have registered for this year's annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Paul Malik had launched last week an online registration process for pilgrims.
Malik on Saturday briefed Union Home Minister Amit Shah about the security situation in the state, which is currently under the president's rule.
During the 15-minute meeting, the Governor apprised the Home Minister about the preparation for the Amarnath Yatra.
According to the sources, Shah has told J&K Governor to leave no stone unturned in conducting terror free Amarnath Yatra.
"Conducting Amarnath Yatra peacefully is the top priority for the Centre. Shah also realises that it will be the first litmus test for him. The importance of the Yatra for him could be gauged by a fact that his meeting with J&K Governor was fixed on the day when he assumed the charge of Home Ministry," says the source.
All the security agencies, army, and paramilitary forces have heightened the vigil and Shah is being briefed about the preparations on a regular basis, adds the source.
The government is also aware that the annual pilgrimage has always been on the radar of the terrorists and it has become extra cautious after the Pulwama attack on February 14, 2019, in which a convoy of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was attacked by a local Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dar. Forty CRPF personnel and Dar were killed in the attack.
Since Amarnath pilgrims also use road transport, the Centre and J&K Administration are taking all possible measures to thwart any Pulwama type attack, say sources.
The Amarnath Yatra has come under terror attack four times in the past.
On 10 July 2017, eight Hindu pilgrims on the way from Amarnath Temple were killed in a terror attack.
On August 6, 2002, terrorists from al-Mansuriyan, a front group of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, killed 9 pilgrims and injured 30 near Nunwan pilgrimage base camp.
On July 20, 2001, a terrorist threw two grenades and fired indiscriminately on a pilgrim night camp at Sheshnag Lake en route Amarnath shrine, killing at least 13 and injuring 15 pilgrims.
On August 2, 2000, Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists killed at least 32 people and injured at least 60 people in a two hour long indiscriminate shoot out at Nunwan base camp in Anantnag district.