Srinagar: The annual Yatra to the Amarnath shrine commenced from the twin routes of Pahalgam and Baltal amidst tight security arrangements on Thursday.
“The Yatra began early this morning from both the routes and so far more than 500 pilgrims have paid obeisance at the cave shrine housing the naturally formed ice-lingam,” a police official said.
A police official said that security arrangements have been put in place to ensure the 45-day pilgrimage passes off peacefully.
Police and CRPF personnel along with the The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and army personnel have been placed to safeguard the two routes leading to the cave shrine.
Despite the assurance from the militant groups that the annual pilgrimage would not be targeted, the security agencies are not leaving anything to chance.
The last attack on the pilgrims, allegedly by Lashkar-e-Taiba, happened in August 2002 when around 30 pilgrims were killed.
New Delhi has provided an additional 40,000 paramilitary forces to assist the state government for peaceful conduct of the yatra.
The army, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the state police have provided multi-layered security to the pilgrims. Heavily fortified security force camps have been established both at Baltal and Pahalgam base camps.
The 40-day long Yatra to the Himalayan cave in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district would end on 7 August.