New Delhi , April 14 : Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla accompanied by Director Intelligence Bureau Arvind Kumar are on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to review security preparations ahead of the annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine which is all set to start on June 30 after a gap of two years, said sources.
Bhalla and Kumar are accompanied by a few senior Home Ministry officers during the two-day visit to the Union Territory which will conclude on Friday. The dignitaries will arrive at Srinagar Airport anytime during the day.
The Home Secretary is learnt to hold meetings with Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh and senior officers of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), J-K government officials and Amarnathji Shrine Board members.
CRPF DG Kuldiep Singh and BSF Chief Pankaj Singh will also attend the meeting, which is scheduled for this evening.
The Home Secretary is expected to stay in Srinagar during his visit and observe the situation in the region before giving his nod to hold the annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine.
Resuming the Amarnath pilgrimage is a challenging task as the Union Territory has witnessed several incidents of targeted killings in the last few months by terrorists following which the Ministry of Home Affairs asked security agencies operating in Jammu and Kashmir to enhance counter-terror operations.
However, online registration for Amarnath Yatra 2022 has started on April 11 and the Home Ministry has already sanctioned nearly 50 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) for the purpose to provide security during the pilgrimage as J-K is expecting nearly three lakh pilgrims visiting the Amarnath cave shrine this year.
While online registration has already begun, the pilgrimage is scheduled to be held for 43 days between June 30 and August 11.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah is also expected to hold a security review meeting very soon regarding the pilgrimage.
The Amarnath shrine pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine of Lord Shiva, located in the upper reaches of the Himalayas, is held from the twin routes of Pahalgam and Baltal.
The J-K government had cancelled the annual Amarnath pilgrimage due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation in 2020 and 2021 after a discussion with Amarnathji Shrine Board members.
For the first time, the Amarnath Yatra was cancelled in 2019 a few days ahead of Article 370 and 35A was withdrawn from J&K, and all travellers were asked to return as soon as possible. (ANI)