New batch of pilgrims head to Amarnath amid tighter security

RSTV Bureau
Baltal:  Pilgrims cross mountain trails during their religious journey to the Amarnath cave on the Baltal route, some 125 kms away from Srinagar on July 9, 2017. PTI Photo

Baltal: Pilgrims cross mountain trails during their religious journey to the Amarnath cave on the Baltal route, some 125 kms away from Srinagar on July 9, 2017. PTI Photo

A day after terrorists killed seven Amarnath pilgrims in Kashmir, a fresh batch of undeterred pilgrims set off from Srinagar for the cave shrine amid massive security.

Pilgrims set out for the laborious trek both from the traditional Pahalgam route and the shorter Baltal routes early on Tuesday morning, an official of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) said.

“The yatra is progressing smoothly and the terror attack has not dampened the spirits of the pilgrims,” the official said.

Security measures have been stepped up since the attack. All routes leading to the Pahalgam and Baltal base camps in Anantnag and Ganderbal districts have secured.

Additional police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed en route to the holy cave shrine to prevent repeat of any such incident, a police official said.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh held meeting of top officials in Delhi to review the security situation in Kashmir.

A high-level central team led by Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir is also headed to Jammu and Kashmir to assess the security of the pilgrimage.

Director General of CRPF R R Bhatnagar is in Srinagar to review the deployment of the central forces in the pilgrimage route. He was also slated to attend a security review meeting convened by Governor N N Vohra in Srinagar.

Seven Amarnath pilgrims were killed and 19 others were injured in a terrorist attack in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Monday night.

The bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims, was on its way to Jammu when the attack took place.

But, the bus was not part of the Amarnath yatra convoy and was violating the 7 pm deadline imposed by the security officials on the movement of the yatra vehicles.

(With inputs from PTI)