Security forces have launched a massive search operation in Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu, following the detection of retired soldiers of Pakistan Army involved in terrorist activities in these areas.
Amid tight security, the first convoy of buses and cars carrying the pilgrims to the Kashmir valley for the Amarnath yatra will leave from here in early morning on Friday from the bade camp here.
More than 3 lakh devotees have already got themselves registered for the pilgrimage.
The 62-days long pilgrimage will begin on 1 July when the first batch of pilgrims from across the country will begin the trek towards the mountain cave shrine from the two base camps at Pahalgam and Baltal in the Kashmir valley.
Over 1000 pilgrims have arrived here for further journey tomorrow. More pilgrims were expected to arrive by the evening.
On-the-spot registration of devotees arriving here has also been started.
The convoys of pilgrims during the next 60 days will leave for Kashmir from here under a heavy security cover. The Army, CRPF, BSF, ITBP, SSB, J&K Police and other agencies have senatised the nearly 300 kms long highway for the safe journey of pilgrims. Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) have been stationed at various points on the highway.
Moreover, helicopters and drones will keep monitoring safe movement of the convoys.
Security at the two tracks from Pahalgam and Baltal has also been tightened. Sharp shooters of the Army and security forces have reportedly taken up positions at vulnerable points.
Synergised and joint security check along with all stakeholders was carried out on both routes of yatra as part of the multi-tiered security arrangements in place for the pilgrimage.
ADGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar alongwith IG CRPF, IG BSF, 3 Sector Commander, SSP Anantnag and CO ITBP visited Panjtarni and the Holy Cave. They reviewed security arrangements and interacted with other stakeholders. All officers also inspected the track jointly between panjtarni and the Holy Cave.
As many as 34 Mountain rescue teams have been stationed in vulnerable areas on both tracks.
Helmets will also be provided to the pilgrims for their safety from shooting stones and landslide.
The health department has established medical aid centres with 440 beds for which about 1700 doctors and paramedics have been deployed. Besides, the Chinar Corps of the Army has also established medical aid centres at various points. Oxygen calendars and other equipment have been provided at these centres.
The Army has established an emergency helipad near the cave shrine.
No pilgrim will be allowed to proceed from the base camps without a RFID card.
People of Samba led by the Deputy Commissioner, SSP and PRI members gave a rousing welcome to the Yatris at Tapyal on the Pathankot–Jammu highway.
A special camp for registration of sadhus has also been set up at Purani Mandi-based Ram temple complex.
CEO of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, Mandeep Bhandari extended a warm welcome to the devotees coming for the yatra. The UT Administration is fully prepared to receive the devotees and all necessary arrangements for comfortable stay and experience for the yatris have been put in place, he said.
To ensure a hassle-free yatra, coordinated efforts have been made by the SASB and the UT Administration.
With 14-km uphill steep trek, the Baltal route is shorter than the 48 kms Pahalgam route.