Specifying precautionary measures, Principal Secretary to Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, Nitishwar Kumar is quoted by ANI as saying that devotees should go on a morning walk, do breathing exercises, must keep their warm clothes, and food items and keep themselves hydrated. His remarks came after over 90 pilgrims lost their lives during the Char Dam Yatra in Uttarakhand since it began on May 3 this year, due to heart attack, mountain sickness and other reasons.
Nitishwar Kumar told ANI on Saturday, “The pilgrims who have done their registrations and are planning to do the same, must do the morning or evening walk for nearly 4 to 5 hours daily. This is a necessity to keep oneself fit as one comes at a very high altitude. The holy cave is at 12,700 ft while you do have to cross 14,000 or 15,000 ft in your way. Also, practice deep breathing exercises as there are oxygen shortages at such high altitudes.”
Citing the occasional dip in temperature in the region during rains, Kumar further suggested that the pilgrims should carry warm clothes as a precautionary measure. “The temperature dips to nearly 5 degrees when it rains during the yatra. So do bring your warm clothes with you keeping this in mind. Do bring a walking stick, jacket and eatables. Keep hydrating yourself to avoid dehydration,” ANI quoted him as saying.
In an important meeting chaired recently over Jammu and Kashmir security situation, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had discussed Amarnath Yatra among other issues.
The Centre has asked Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Odisha governments to take urgent steps to ensure that the ongoing Kedarnath Yatra and upcoming Amarnath Yatra and Rath Yatra are conducted in a manner so as to ensure high levels of cleanliness.
In this regard, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) Manoj Joshi has written to the Chief Secretaries of Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Odisha. Notably, there are four holy shrines in Uttarakhand dedicated to Hindu Gods and holy rivers of India. The four shrines are situated within the Garhwal Region.
These are collectively referred to as “Char Dham of Uttarakhand”. In the Hindu religion, Char Dham Yatra holds great importance and sanctity. It is believed that every Hindu should undertake Char Dham Yatra at least once in a lifetime to avail the blessings of gods adorning the shrines.
Amarnath Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir is scheduled to begin on June 30, 2022, and conclude on August 11, 2022.
Security forces concerned over ‘sticky bombs’ threat
With the Amarnath Yatra around the corner, security forces in Jammu and Kashmir are concerned over terrorist groups possessing “sticky bombs” — explosives that can be attached to vehicles and detonated remotely — and are reshaping their standard operating procedure for the pilgrimage, a PTI report said citing officials.
The official reportedly said that interrogation of arrested terrorists and their sympathisers and other evidence suggests that while some “sticky bombs” have been recovered by security forces, many of them may have found their way into terror groups in Kashmir Valley.
Recently, a drone flying in from Pakistan developed a technical snag and was spotted by people in Kathua. Later, the police recovered arms and ammunition, including seven magnetic bombs or “sticky bombs”, from the place.
Concerned over the development, the security agencies reworked their strategy, especially keeping in mind the Amarnath Yatra beginning June 30.
Notably, the “sticky bombs’ emerged on the terror scene in Kashmir in February last year when these were recovered from the Samba of the Jammu region, indicating the initiation of a new phase of terrorism in the union territory.
It was the first such recovery of “sticky bombs”, used largely in Afghanistan and Iraq. In India, it was used by suspected Iranian terrorists who targeted the vehicle of an Israeli diplomat in February 2012, resulting in injury to his wife.
It may be noted that sticky bombs were used by the British forces during World War II. It can be put on any vehicle and detonated through remote control or an in-built timer.
(Inputs from Agencies)