Govt May Provide Security To Private Vehicles Ferrying Amarnath Pilgrims


New Delhi: Central security forces and J&K police are currently reviewing security arrangements along the Amarnath Yatra route in the wake of the Anantnag attack that killed 7 pilgrims. The main focus stays on securing private vehicles that are not part of the official convoy.

The review was carried out through Tuesday at multiple levels, starting with the daily security meeting chaired by home minister Rajnath Singh. J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and governor N N Vohra, who is also the chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, reviewed arrangements separately. Later, a more detailed meeting was held in J&K, attended by Army, central and state forces and intelligence agencies.

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The reviews are said to have focused on three aspects: preventing a fallout of the Amarnath attack in the state and country; refurbishment of the security grid; and further additions needed to yatra machineries.

“The yatra security arrangements are under constant review, depending on gaps noticed from time to time. In view of yesterday’s attack, we are working on ensuring that the compactness of the official convoy is not violated, also factoring in tourism-related interests of the yatris. The updated arrangements would be aimed at encouraging private vehicles to move with the official convoy,” said an intelligence functionary.

Other things under review are whether the road opening party (ROP) should be retained for longer and night deployment strengthened. “It needs to be seen if the ROP should be withdrawn a little later, minimising the chances of terrorists hitting at private vehicles travelling after 7.00-7.30pm,” said an officer.

Monday’s attack on the bus carrying pilgrims from Gujarat took place around 8.15pm, less than an hour after the ROP was withdrawn after the official convoy had gone through .

Though drones have been deployed to track possible terror suspects moving along the route, an official said they are more effective in the hilly terrain than in plains.