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Army deploys 5,000 additional troops to protect Amarnath Yatra

With increasing threat perception, the Indian Army has deployed close to 5,000 additional troops in Kashmir to provide protection to the pilgrims of the annual Amarnath Yatra - in addition to the 4,000 troops rushed there earlier to prevent infiltration and carry out extensive counter terrorist operations.

Officials said the peaceful conduct of the yatra is being seen as a big challenge for the security forces.

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat and DG CRPF Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar are likely to visit the state for reviewing the arrangements made for the pilgrims.

In the last few years, the separatist Hurriyat Conference and the Islamic terrorists have been opposing the conduct of the yatra and several attempts have been made by these forces to stop and discourage pilgrims from attending the pilgrimage having been held since centuries.

The five battalions that have been moved include engineers, signals and Territorial Army units.

One battalion will be on the Sonamarg-Baltal route to the Amarnarth shrine in Jammu and Kashmir and the other one in the Pahalgam route, Army sources said.

The remaining battalions will be positioned along the Srinagar-Jammu highway, north of the Jawahar Tunnel.

The troops will be equipped with night-vision capability and tasked with securing the heights around the routes. The CRPF is in overall charge of conducting the yatra.

In the last eight months, after the surgical strikes on PoK, the Army has been beefing up its presence in the Valley and the LoC to keep a check on terrorist operations.

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