Guwahati: Sticky bombs have emerged as a new threat to the upcoming Amarnath yatra in South Kashmir, Inspector General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), PS Ranpise, said on Monday.
The 56-day yatra to the 3,880-meter-high cave shrine of Amarnath in the South Kashmir Himalayas is scheduled to start from the twin routes of Pahalgam and Baltal on June 28 and culminate on August 22. The registration will start from April 1.
In 2019 it was curtailed on August 2, three days before the revocation of Article 370 on August 5.
Last year the pilgrimage had to be canceled in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The CRPF has been holding meetings with the police. Our force with all requisite logistics is prepared and whatever required for the pilgrimage is being analysed and will be done,” said CRPF’ Inspector General (IG), Jammu zone, PS Ranpise here on Monday.
“This year we are expecting more pilgrims and therefore we have made a demand for more personnel and logistics from the government,” he said.
The IG, however, said that the Centre has to decide about the number of personnel to be deployed for the pilgrimage.
“The government will decide about the troops after taking into account the overall security situation,” he added.
He assured that the CRPF and other security forces will ensure the success of the pilgrimage this year too.
On the Kashmir highway that pilgrims from Jammu use, he said that sufficient manpower will be deployed.
On the new threat of sticky bombs, the CRPF IG said, “It is a cause of serious concern. CRPF units and formations have been briefed about them. We have to be very careful about them because they work with timer devices. Everyone has to remain cautious about them”.
In 2017, Seven Amarnath pilgrims were killed and twelve, including three policemen, were injured after militants attacked a tourist bus and a police party in Anantnag along the Jammu-Srinagar Highway in south Kashmir.
This was not the first time that terror outfits have targeted the Amarnath Yatra. Here are several previous instances when the safety of pilgrims has come under threat:
2000 mass shooting:
LeT terrorists killed at least 32 people and injured 60 in Pahalgam, the base camp for Amarnath Yatris in a mass shooting. Among the victims were 21 Hindu pilgrims, seven Muslim shopkeepers and porters and three security officials. Many of those killed were local Bakarwal gurjar Muslim men and porters hiring horses and services to ferry pilgrims to the Amarnath shrine. Subsequently, then India Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Pahalgam and blamed the Lashkar-e-Taiba for the deaths.
On July 20, 2001, in the month of Shraavana, 13 people were killed and 15 others injured in two explosions and firing by militants on a pilgrim night camp at Sheshnag Lake near the Amarnath Temple shrine. In the pre-dawn attack, terrorists penetrated layers of security and exploded two Improvised Explosive Devices. The casualties included eight Hindu pilgrims, three Muslim civilians and two security personnel.
2002 Lashkar attack
On July 30 and Aug. 6, 2002, 11 people were killed and 30 injured in attacks by the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s front group of al-Mansuriyan. It was the third consecutive year when the yatra was attacked. Two pilgrims were killed and three injured on July 30 when terrorists threw grenades at a civilian taxi of pilgrims in Srinagar. Further, nine people were killed and 27 injured on Aug. 6 by a hail of bullets from Lashkar-e-Taiba militants at the Nunwan base camp at Pahalgam.
2006 bus attack
Five pilgrims from Rajasthan were injured when militants hurled a grenade at their bus at Beehama in Ganderbal, 23 kilometres from Srinagar. No militant outfit claimed responsibility for the attack.