Army conducts patrols along highway to ensure safety of Amarnath pilgrims

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JAMMU, Jul 8: The Army is conducting area domination patrols daily along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway with drones, surveillance equipment and sniffer dogs to ensure a secure passage for Amarnath pilgrims, officials said on Saturday.

The drills on the highway are an integral part of the multi-security grid responsible for facilitating a smooth and incident-free pilgrimage spanning 62 days from July 1, they said.

“The Army undertakes intense area domination patrolling along the entire route of the yatra, from Jammu to Banihal and beyond, providing security to pilgrims,” a senior security official told PTI.

This proactive approach establishes a protective layer to deter terrorists from approaching the national highway and targeting convoys of pilgrims, he said.

Equipped with state-of-the-art gadgets such as drones, metal detectors and surveillance equipment, and sniffer dogs, the soldiers meticulously sanitise the highway and certain hinterland areas as part of their security duties, the officials said.

The Northern Army commander and the corps commanders oversee the security arrangements and regularly assess the ground situation, they added.

“These tireless efforts, often performed in challenging conditions, significantly contribute to the successful execution of the pilgrimage while prioritising the safety and well-being of the pilgrims,” the official said.

The 62-day annual pilgrimage to the revered 3,888-metre-high cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas commenced from Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district on July 1.

Till now, a total of 43,833 pilgrims have departed from the Jammu base camp towards the valley in seven batches. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha flagged off the first batch of pilgrims.

The yatra is scheduled to conclude on August 31, and so far, over 86,000 devotees have visited the cave shrine.

The Amarnath yatra attracts devotees from across the globe and contributes significantly to the local economy, benefiting small villages along the route, as well as larger towns and cities in Jammu and Kashmir, the officials said.

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