Amarnath Yatra 2023: Amit Shah Reviews Security and Preparedness
The Amarnath Yatra, a yearly pilgrimage, will start on July 1 and possibly end on August 31 this year.
NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah is set to chair a high-level meeting to assess the preparedness and security arrangements for the upcoming Amarnath Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir. The annual pilgrimage, scheduled to commence on July 1 and conclude on August 31, involves a 62-day-long journey to the Amarnath cave shrine situated at an altitude of 3,880 meters in the south Kashmir Himalayas. Last year, around 345,000 individuals visited the holy cave, with expectations of the number rising to 500,000 this year.
The meeting, attended by top officials from the central government and Jammu and Kashmir administrations, aims to review the preparations and formulate foolproof security measures for the pilgrimage. All stakeholders are expected to participate, and various aspects related to the arrangements will be discussed.
Security concerns have been raised due to intelligence inputs suggesting that Pakistan-based terrorist groups may attempt to disrupt the pilgrimage. Consequently, adequate security forces will be deployed to counter any potential threats.
Efforts are also being made to prevent incidents like last year's flash floods that resulted in the deaths of 16 people near the shrine. The National Disaster Response Force has begun identifying suitable locations for establishing pilgrim camps, taking into account the possibility of unforeseen natural disasters.
The Indian Air Force helicopters will be deployed to conduct aerial sorties in the upper reaches of the holy cave. This measure aims to monitor glacial events and the formation of lakes that could trigger flash floods downstream. Unlike the previous year, when such sorties were initiated only after the occurrence of flash floods in June, this year the exercise will be carried out before the start of the yatra and at regular intervals throughout the pilgrimage. A team with expertise in remote sensing, satellite imaging, hydrology, and disaster response will likely conduct the aerial surveys. Prompt contingency measures will be implemented upon identifying any dangerous water build-up, particularly in the vicinity of the cave shrine.
The objective of this high-level meeting is to ensure the smooth and secure conduct of the Amarnath Yatra. By assessing and addressing various aspects such as security, disaster management, and infrastructure, the authorities aim to facilitate a safe pilgrimage experience for the devotees undertaking this sacred journey.