Ahead of Amarnath pilgrimage, Kashmir secures routes

June 6th, 2011 - 2:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Amarnath Shrine Jammu, June 6 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir government has started deploying security forces along the routes leading to the Amarnath cave shrine devoted to Lord Shiva as pilgrims start arriving for the annual Hindu pilgrimage from June 29.

According to official sources, besides the Jammu and Kashmir Police, paramilitary forces and strong contingents of the army would also be deployed along both the routes — the Baltal-Sangam route and the one from Pahalgam.

“This time, there would be deployment of about 10,000 security forces personnel from Jammu to the cave shrine in south Kashmir,” a senior police official told IANS.

The major deployment of the security forces would be in Jammu city — the starting point — because of repeated intercepts that militants were planning a big strike to grab headlines.

“We are also concentrating on the mountainous areas along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, and along the routes from Srinagar and Anantnag towns to the shrine,” the official said.

“Kashmir is quiet at this moment, but it’s not being taken for granted. In the past too, the valley was quiet when it suddenly erupted and there were bouts of violence and street protests and clashes,” the officer said.

Meanwhile, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, which manages the Himalayan pilgrimage, has said that over 200,000 people have registered themselves for the pilgrimage.

The shrine is located at a height of 3,888 metres above sea level. More than half a million people visited the shrine last year.

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