Fearing stone pelters, J&K govt seeks 27,000 security personnel for safety of Amarnath pilgrims

24 May 2017

The Jammu and Kashmir government has demanded around 27,000 security personnel from the Centre to ensure safety of the pilgrims going to visit the Amarnath holy shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva.

According to news agency PTI, a senior Union home ministry official said that stone pelting mobs and terrorists pose equal threat to the annual Amarnath pilgrimage that begins June 29. The J&K government has demanded over 27,000 security personnel for deployment along the route to ensure that all goes peacefully, he added. The official made the comments following a high-level meeting to discuss security arrangements for the pilgrimage to the high-altitude holy shrine.

The meeting was chaired by Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and attended by top officials of the central and the state governments. "There are equal threats from militants and stone pelters. All threats are being taken care of," Ashok Prasad, advisor in the Home Ministry, said when asked whether stone pelting mobs could be the biggest threat to the 40-day pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine located at a height of 3,888 metres. All aspect will be taken into consideration by the security forces before they finalise the security plan, he added in response to a question on the possible impact of the destruction of Pakistan Army posts by the Indian Army.

"Definitely, we will make all efforts to ensure a peaceful pilgrimage," Prasad said. The Jammu and Kashmir government has sought around 27,000 security personnel from the central government, mostly Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel. Last year, around 20,000 paramilitary personnel besides state police personnel were deployed along the route. (PTI)