‘Security strengthened at Jammu Railway Station’
STATE TIMES NEWsJammu: Jammu: Additional central paramilitary forces have been made available to Jammu and Kashmir this year to ensure peaceful pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, scheduled to begin next month, Inspector General of Police, Jammu, M K Sinha said. He said the availability of more forces compared to previous years have resulted in strengthening of counter-infiltration grid, deployment of road-opening parties all along the highway and strengthening of the security around camps housing the pilgrims. Six special teams comprising police, the SDRF and magistrates would be deployed in landslide prone areas along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Ramban district to ensure minimum disruption during the yatra, he said. “Though there is no specific input about threat to the yatra, all necessary security arrangements are in place as the sensitivity increases during the pilgrimage. We have got additional central paramilitary forces this time compared to previous years and have accordingly made foolproof arrangements,” Sinha told reporters here on Monday evening.
He said two companies of the BSF were inducted and deployed with the border police, who are in the third tier in the counter-infiltration grid along the international border, to augment security and ensure adequate manpower to guard the border roads linking with the highway from Lakhanpur to Jammu.
“The yatra crosses five districts of Kathua, Samba, Jammu, Udhampur and Ramban in Jammu region covering a total distance of 268-kms. The whole highway has been divided into different zones and sectors for better security,” he said, adding that each zone will be headed by a superintendent of police, while non-gazetted police officers will be responsible for the security in assigned sectors.
“The highway check posts have been increased and the laterals connecting with the highway will be manned and no one will be allowed on the highway from there during the movement of the pilgrims,” he said.
Pilgrim camps, registration centres and community kitchens will be guarded round-the-clock, he said.
“In fact, the langar (community kitchen) operators were given conditional permission that they will install CCTV cameras and ensure proper lighting arrangement in the peripheral areas of their camping site as part of the enhanced security arrangement,” the IGP said.
The IGP said the security in and around the Jammu Railway Station has been strengthened ahead of the Yatra. He assured pilgrims to join the pilgrimage without any fear, saying the security situation in the state was as good as in any other part of the country.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Railways, Ranjit Singh Sambyal also said that all incoming and outgoing trains would be checked along with the luggage of the passengers with the assistance of specially trained dog squad capable of detecting explosives.
“We are expecting heavy rush of pilgrims during the yatra and have beefed up the security at the railway station in view of the threat perception though there is no specific input (about terrorist plan to target the pilgrims),” he said.
The officer, who led a joint drill of the government railway police and the Jammu and Kashmir Police to check the security arrangements, said the quick reaction teams at the entrance and exit points were strengthened.
“We are ready and fully satisfied with the security arrangements which were made in accordance with the standard operating procedure (SOP). We want to convey to the intending pilgrims that there is no need to worry and they should join the pilgrimage as the situation in the state is as good as in any other part of the country,” he said.
The SSP said a special sniffer dog squad would check all incoming and outgoing trains besides the luggage of the passengers without causing any inconvenience to them as the canines were trained to detect explosives.
A joint control room with representatives from all security agencies was established for the benefit of the pilgrims, he said.
He said the security of the railway platforms was strengthened and patrolling of the tracks intensified while a round-the-clock vigil would be maintained on all the people through CCTV cameras.
“The drill will continue on daily basis to check the security arrangements and plug any loophole,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Traffic Department has divided the Jammu-Lakhanpur highway into 10 zones where suitable motor bikers would be deployed for assisting and helping the pilgrims to ensure hassle free movement of vehicles carrying the pilgrims, officials said.
In addition, special check points would be established at all the link roads falling on the highway from Lakhanpur to Bari Brahamana, they said.
The officials said Inspector General of police, Traffic, Alok Kumar, along with SSP Traffic Rural Jammu, Mohan Lal Kaith, visited Lakhanpur — the gateway to Jammu and Kashmir — to review the traffic arrangements in connection with the yatra.
During the visit, IGP Traffic took stock of reception centre at Lakhanpur and directed the officers concerned to conduct one time document checking of pilgrim vehicles and pasting of stickers to avoid any inconvenience to the devotees.
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