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Amarnath Yatra kick starts today amidst very high security


New Delhi, July 01: Amidst high alerts and multi tiered security, the Amarnath Yatra commences today.

The second batch comprising 4,417 pilgrims -- including 3,543 males, 843 females and 31 children -- left in a fleet of 142 vehicles from Bhagwati Nagar base camp for Pahalgam and Baltal For the Pahalgam route, 2,800 pilgrims left the base camp, while 1,617 pilgrims for Baltal left in buses and light motor vehicles, which were escorted by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), officials said.

On Sunday the first batch of pilgrims was flagged off. There is a multi-tiered security system in place to guard the Amarnath Yatra that begins on Monday. The Yatra would conclude on August 15.

Security personnel stand guard as a convoy carrying the first batch of Amarnath pilgrims leave for yatra from Jammu

Over 1.5 lakh pilgrims from across the country have so far registered themselves for the 46-day long pilgrimage, which takes place from the 36-km Pahalgam track in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district and 14-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district.

Security is particularly tight along the twin routes of Baltal and Pahalgam.

The 40-day yatra to the cave shrine at an altitude of 3,880 metre in the south Kashmir Himalayas will commence from both the routes, they said.

Largely all arrangements have been put in place, just some final touches are being given, they said.

The Army, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Jammu and Kashmir Police have been tasked with providing security to the pilgrims and a multi-tier security arrangement has been planned for the yatra, they said.

The security forces have begun sanitizing the yatra routes, they said, adding they have been asked to ensure optimum use of latest technologies and gadgets for securing the yatra.

High alert ahead of Amarnath Yatra: Here is how the pilgrimage is being guarded

The officials said that forces are not taking any chances especially in the wake of February 14 Pulwama suicide attack which left 40 CRPF personnel dead.

Union home minister Amit Shah Wednesday warned officials against any complacency in the security arrangements for the yatra and directed them to strictly implement the standard operating procedures for the pilgrimage.

During his two-day visit to the state, Shah underlined the importance of the standard operating procedure for convoy movement and specifically stressed on timely dispatch of convoys.

Shah said that after the cut-off timings, barricades should be erected at suitable locations and no differentiation should be made between yatris and tourists.

Meanwhile, advisors to the Governor, Khursheed Ahmad Ganai and K K Sharma Friday visited Baltal and Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camps of the yatra where they chaired a high-level meetings with officers to take stock of the arrangements being put in place for the smooth conduct of the pilgrimage, the officials said.

At Baltal base camp in central Kashmir's Ganderbal district, the officers apprised the meeting regarding the arrangements put in place by departments associated with the yatra for its smooth conduct.

The meeting also reviewed the status of completion of track upgrade works on the Baltal route up to the holy cave, improvements at access control gates, establishment of camps, shelter sheds, medical camps, labour registration, emergency operation centres (EOCs) at various locations, provision of drinking water supply, lighting, LPG, ration and medicine, the officials said.

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