The spurt in incidents of grenade tossing by terrorists particularly in the south Kashmir is causing concern among the security forces on the issue of safety of thousands of pilgrims who are expected to visit the holy cave shrine of Amarnath during the two months long pilgrimage that would begin within a few days from now.
The Army and the central security forces have already started tightening arrangements for safety of the pilgrims in view of the high threat perception that has been created due to the incidents of terrorists targeting the Army and CRPF personnel in south Kashmir that is the road entry point into the valley from Jammu and all pilgrims have to cross these hotspots to reach the shrine.
The pilgrimage would begin on 28 June and keeping this in mind the terrorists are on a grenade lobbying spree apparently to scare away the pilgrims. The unilateral ceasefire announced by the centre during the month of Ramzan has emboldened the miscreants.
More than 50 persons, including women and children, have been injured due to grenade blasts in the past five days. Incidents of stone pelting at security forces and tourists have also increased.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh is coming to Jammu and Kashmir on two days visit on 7 June when he is expected to review whether the ceasefire should be further extended or not.
However, reports indicate that the spurt in grenade explosions was also weighing on the minds of the top brass of the Modi government as any untoward incident like that of last year when 10 Amarnath pilgrims were killed in a terrorist attack on a bus would further dent the image of the government.
An impression has gone around that by announcing the unilateral ceasefire the hands of the security forces have been tied as a result of which terrorists and stone-pelters were having a free run in Kashmir. The security forces have also suspended the “Operation Allout” during which several top commanders of various terrorist outfits were killed.
A number of incidents of stone-pelters having attacked vehicles carrying Amarnath pilgrims as they entered the south Kashmir from Jammu were reported last year.
Governor NN Vohra, who is also chairman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), has held a series of meetings with the top brass of the Army, security forces and central and state intelligence agencies to make foolproof arrangements for safety of the pilgrims. The central home department was also keeping an eye on the security arrangements.