Govt moves 25,000 additional troops to Kashmir; Amarnath yatra suspended

The government is moving an additional 25,000 paramilitary personnel to the Valley, less than a week after moving 10,000 troops of paramilitary forces to Kashmir

Govt moves 25,000 additional troops to Kashmir; Amarnath yatra suspended

NH Web Desk

The government is moving an additional 25,000 paramilitary personnel to the Valley, less than a week after moving 10,000 troops of paramilitary forces to Kashmir. According to reports, troops started arriving early on Thursday.

A fresh order was directed to security personnel to “work on a build-up at the district levels across the State.” Sources said 35,000 personnel were being inducted and split between the Jammu and Kashmir regions.

This movement comes days after Governor Satya Pal Malik said “all was normal”, fuelling a fresh wave of speculation in the State. On Wednesday, Malik said there is no plan to scrap Article 35A, which defines permanent residents of the state and bars outsiders from purchasing and owning immovable property.

Sources said there was also a direction to wind up the Amarnath Yatra for the time being. The yatra has been suspended till August 4. Even many langars (community kitchens) operating in south Kashmir were vacated on Thursday.

While the government cited adverse weather conditions as a reason for its suspension, the weather department has not predicted any major change in conditions. Official sources say a section of troops deployed for the Yatra are also being moved for some impending law and order duty.

Around 400 companies, which constitute about 40,000 personnel, are deployed for the yatra's security.

Sources say all security formations have been asked to remain in a state of readiness.

Army chief General Bipin Rawat arrived in Srinagar on Thursday to review the security preparations in Kashmir. The defence spokesperson said the army chief will be in Kashmir for two days, said a news report.

The government had last week said that 100 companies (each company has about 100 soldiers) were brought in to strengthen the counter-insurgency grid in Kashmir.

The decision to send the troops came after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval returned from a two-day visit to Kashmir valley last week. Sources said he met senior officers and reviewed the law and order situation in the state that's still under the President's rule.

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