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Amarnath Yatra: Constant vigil at Nunwan camp

Sameer Mahendru in Nunwan | July 15, 2003 15:25 IST
Last Updated: July 15, 2003 15:26 IST

The pilgrims taking the Amarnath Yatra for the first time would mistake the base camp at Nunwan as either a high-security prison or a cantonment.

Such is the fear of a terrorist strike in the sensitive Anantnag district of south Kashmir, where the holy cave lies, that the security forces are leaving no stone unturned to counter any situation.

"There is no point underplaying the terrorist threat. We are on constant alert as the terrorist can strike at any place at any time," Deputy Commandant of the 86th Battalion, Central Reserve Police Force, Chetram Yadav told PTI.

As part of the division's security related tasks, Yadav's paramilitary force is in charge of the camps at various points where the yatris stay in course of the pilgrimage.

While the army is manning the heights to prevent any influx of terrorists, Border Security Force holds charge of the tracking route and the CRPF controls the camps.

The security arrangement is multi-layered to ensure that the month-long annual pilgrimage undertaken by about 150,000 devotees is incident-free.

CRPF personnel who are on duty here termed the camp as a 'Chakkrabehu' in which entry and exit are fully regulated.

All the amenities, mainly langar (kitchen), sanitation, fix dousing, are all in-house.

A similar camp has also been set up at Baltal. The pilgrims cannot move out after 2200 hours IST.

Yadav said the threat of terrorists trying to disrupt the Yatra in guise of Sadhus, ponywalas and pilgrims 'is very high'.

Nothing can be left to chance as terrorists had killed pilgrims in Phalgum during Yatra 2000 and then again in Seshnag in 2001, and here last year.

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