Saturday, April 14, 2012

Army to man heights of Baba Amarnath shrine

Authorities devise roadmap for summer, yatra, militancy

Authorities today devised a roadmap to ensure a peaceful summer, Amarnath yatra and Durbar Move this year in the Kashmir valley. They also finalized a strategy to ensure zero level of infiltration on the Line of Control (LoC), which has been maintained during first quarter of the current year.

The strategy was formulated at a high level three hour long security review meeting held in Srinagar, which was attended by top brass of police, Army, para-military forces and Intelligence agencies.

The meeting among others was attended by Director General of Police (DGP) Kuldeep Khoda, General Officer Commanding (GOC) 15 Corps, Lt Gen S A Hasnain, all Commanders of the Army Divisions operating in the Kashmir valley, Additional DGP (Law and Order) K Rajendera, IGP Kashmir SM Sahai, IG CID Dr B Srinivas and top officials of CRPF, BSF, IB and other agencies.

The meeting was follow up of the security review undertaken by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in Jammu on April 10.

Official sources told the Jk News that the high level meeting devised a roadmap to maintain peaceful summer and ensure fool proof security of tourist spots to keep summer abuzz in the Kashmir valley and prevent any repeat of 2010 like situation when over 100 persons were killed in the protests.

However, 2011 summer had been completely peaceful in the Valley.

Sources said the meeting decided to take care of ``trigger points'', who could provoke the youth to street protests.
‘‘Various formulas have been worked out to deal with separatists, militants, youths and other provocative forces'', sources said, adding all security and police agencies would keep the youth engaged in different activities.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has already announced withdrawal of cases against about 5000 youth, mostly stone pelters of 2010 summer. Sources said police have decided to expedite the process of withdrawal of cases as a Confidence Building Measure (CBM) among the youth. The process of withdrawal of cases would be completed within a month's time, they added.

The authorities have decided to beef up security of all tourist spots across the Valley in view of heavy rush of tourists expected in the months of May-July. Intelligence agencies had reports that the militants could target tourists to spoil peak tourist season in summer. However, authorities said, there was nothing to worry for the tourists as fool-proof security arrangements were being made for their visits.

Amarnath yatra security also came under a high level review during the meeting, sources said, adding it was decided that Army would man heights of Baltal and Pahalgam, the twin tracks leading to holy cave shrine of Shri Amarnath ji in South Kashmir Himalayas.

Para-military forces and Jammu and Kashmir Police would dominate rest of the areas including parts of tracks, base camps of Baltal and Nunwan (Pahalgam), Bhagwati Nagar in Jammu and two National Highways of Jammu-Pathankot and Jammu-Srinagar, sources said.

Deployment of security at Shri Amarnath Bhawan and the tracks would start with clearance of snowfall, sources said and added that the Union Home Ministry has already agreed to give additional companies of para-military forces for deployment of pilgrims’ security.

Pilgrimage to holy cave shrine of Amarnath ji is starting on June 25 and would culminate on August 2 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.

The meeting expressed satisfaction over the level of militancy related incidents, which have considerably gone down across the State.

Mr Khoda said as against 2000 active militants in the State in 2006, there were just 175 militants left now including 145 in the Kashmir valley and 30 in Jammu.

``There has been zero infiltration at the Line of Control (LoC) this year. Army was determined to maintain this tempo on the LoC in the coming days as well especially when snow would start melting in next few days'', sources said, adding that Army was maintaining a high alert on the LoC to thwart intrusion bid.

The meeting noted that as against 25 militancy related incidents across the State so far, 55 incidents had been reported during corresponding period last year while only five civilians have been killed this year as against 14 last year.

Twenty-nine militants have been killed as against 27 last year while there had been no losses of security forces as against five fatalities suffered last year during the same period. The militancy related incidents so far were 50 per cent down from 2011 and 47 per cent from 2010, sources said, adding that such a downward trend in the militancy has never been witnessed.

The authorities also reviewed security for shifting of the Civil Secretariat, the seat of the Government, which would shift to Srinagar, the summer capital of the State from May 7 from Jammu for next six months.

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