Srinagar: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, on Tuesday rushed to Srinagar from Delhi to review the security situation in Kashmir Valley in the backdrop of the terror attack on Monday in which seven Amarnath pilgrims were killed and 19 others were wounded.
Three of the injured people in southern Anantnag district are serious.
He closeted with senior Army commanders at the 15 Corps headquarters in Srinagar’s Badami Bagh Cantonment and held separate meetings with Governor NN Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the Director General of Police Shesh Paul Vaid to discuss the issues concerning the annual pilgrimage to the cave-shrine of Amarnath.
He was to attend a security review meeting convened by the Governor who is also the chairman of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) at Raj Bhavan in Srinagar in the forenoon. But his flight to Srinagar was delayed reportedly due to inclement weather.
He later called on the Governor and the two discussed the measures being initiated to strengthen the security cover for the pilgrims and ensure no such incident reoccur in the remaining 27 days of the yatra.
He also called on the Chief Minister, a defence spokesman confirmed.
The 40-day annual pilgrimage began on June 29 and so far more than 150,000 devotees have paid obeisance at the 3,888-foot-high revered place of Hindu worship in Kashmir Himalayas.
The Monday’s gory incident failed to deter thousands of pilgrims who were already on way to the base-camps of Pahalgam and Baltal from Srinagar and Jammu or left the winter capital under police escort on Tuesday morning and continued their journey.
However, no vehicle was allowed to proceed towards the base-camps individually and all vehicles including buses, cabs and private cars carrying the pilgrims were stopped at various halting places and then together escorted to Baltal and Pahalgam. This correspondent saw about three dozen such vehicles having been stopped just outside his house in Srinagar’s Naseem Bagh area at around dawn and later being escorted by the men from Jammu and Kashmir police, CRPF and SSB towards Baltal.
A defence spokesman said the the Army Chief Gen. Rawat was briefed by the 15 (Chinar) Corps Commander on the prevailing security situation in the Valley.
“Later, the Army Chief also chaired a security review meeting which was attended by the Chinar Corps Commander, Chief Secretary and DGP (J&K) among others,” the spokesman said.
Speaking on the occasion, the Army Chief “condemned the dastardly act of terror against innocent Amarnath pilgrims and indicated that the security forces will counter this menace with greater resolve”.
The spokesman added, “He exhorted the commanders and troops to keep up the pressure on the terrorists as had been witnessed in recent successful operations in the Valley. He complimented the troops for the excellent operations along the line of control, wherein several infiltration attempts were foiled.”
The CRPF Director General, RR Bhatnagar also reached Srinagar from Delhi to review the security situation with the officers from the force which played crucial role towards security the Amarnath yatra. He also called on the Governor and the Chief Minister, official sources said....