Home Minister Amit Shah directed officials to conduct counter-terrorism operations proactively so that militants are not able to disturb the yatra

In the wake of recent killing of a Kashmiri Pandit and to ensure an incident-free Amarnath yatra, the Centre has reportedly decided to deploy additional 15,000 paramilitary forces in the Kashmir Valley.

Sources said the decision was taken during a recent meeting called by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah with top officials of the security establishment in New Delhi to assess the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of targeted killings, and the security of Amarnath yatra, which begins on June 30.

“The additional deployment of 15,000 paramilitary forces will be in addition to the forces which have already been deployed for the upcoming yatra,” they said.

During the security review meeting in New Delhi, sources said Shah directed officials to conduct coordinated counter-terrorism operations proactively in the Valley so that militants are not able to disturb the yatra and carry out civilian killings.

The yatra, which presents a big security challenge for the government, could not take place in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19 pandemic and was cut short in 2019 just before the abrogation of Article 370. This year, about eight lakh pilgrims are expected to take part in the pilgrimage, which would be a record.

Last week, Rahul Bhat, a Kashmir Pandit, was shot dead by two pistol-borne militants inside the tehsil office Chadoora in central Kashmir’s Budgam district. The killings created a wave of fear and anger among the minority community across Kashmir.