Heavy rains have lashed Jammu and Kashmir for the last few days, and on Friday, June 29, the authorities sounded a flood alert as the Jhelum river crossed the critical 21-feet mark at Sangam in south Kashmir's Anantnag district.
"Due to continuous rains from the past two days, the gauge at Sangam has crossed the flood declaration of 21 feet and was flowing at 21.33 feet at 6 pm," the Press Trust of India quoted an official of the Irrigation and Flood Control department as saying.
Police repairing embankment of flooded river Jehlem at Sangam
The banks of river Jhelum got breached at various points in Sangam area due to rising water level. On the receipt of this information, a team headed by the division officer of police post Sangam rushed to various spots and started the preventive works.
Empty sandbags were put into use and repair works were taken up at almost all the points to prevent the water flow in civilian areas. SSP Anantnag Altaf Ahmad Khan also visited various locations to see repairing work of embankments of Jehlem in Sangam area.
Omar Abdullah questions BJP-PDP government
Omar Abdullah has now questioned what the BJP-PDP government did all these months when there is clearly no development and flood management plans in place.
Fresh flood alert
Officials have sounded a fresh alert as the Darhali River in Rajouri has shown signs of overflow since heavy rains on Friday
Faith over fear
This year is likely to see the highest number of pilgrims visiting the shrine and the advance registrations have reportedly crossed the 2 lakh mark. The reason behind this jump in numbers is said to be cheaper helicopter fares, the cost of a one-way ride being just Rs 1,600.
About 40,000 pilgrims have booked tickets on these choppers and the seats for the first three weeks have been sold out, according to the Economic Times.
What Hizbul said
"You don't need any security as you are our guests,'' the voice in the clip is heard saying.
Recently J&K DGP SP Vaid said that the security of the Amarnath yatra has been beefed-up, as militants are planning to attack the yatra. This is not true. We don't have any plan to attack Amarnath yatra and will never attack them,'' the message said.
They (yatris) are coming here to fulfil their religious obligations. We have never attacked the Amarnath yatra in the past as our fight is not with the yatris. Our fight is with those people who are committing atrocities on our people and those who forced us to pick up the gun,'' it added.
Hizbul Mujahideen's message to Amarnath pilgrims
Security forces may be on high alert in the state over LeT threats, but militant group Hizbul Mujahideen released an audio clip, assuring the pilgrims that they are safe and have nothing to worry about.
In the audio clip, a voice, believed to be that of Riyaz Naikoo, the commander of the terror group, said that the Hizbul Mujahideen has no plans to carry out any attack and pilgrims could even travel without any kind of security cover.
The government has also said each vehicle carrying the Amarnath pilgrims would be monitored with the radio frequency tag. In addition, a joint control room will also be set up by the security forces and the state police for better monitoring, protection and quick action.
An official also revealed that several arrangements such as CCTV cameras, quick reaction teams, and dog squads will be pressed into service. The security officials will also take part in rigorous drills and tracking of vehicles will be a part of it.
Security arrangements in J&K
Keeping in my mind this threat, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has reportedly formed a special motorcycle squad to monitor the activities during the pilgrimage and keep an eye on possible troublemakers.
"Keeping in view the convenience and security of pilgrims, the CRPF has prepared a special motorcycle squad, which on one hand, will ensure the security of pilgrims on the yatra route and on the other, will also be used as small ambulances for them," Zee News quoted a CRPF spokesperson as saying.
LeT threat to Amarnath Yatra
Security forces in the North Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir have been on high alert for the last few days. The alert comes after the intelligence agencies said that about 20 terrorists, mostly of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit, have sneaked into the valley and plan to attack the pilgrims.
The Amarnath Yatra has faced several terror threats and on June 28, security agencies issued a fresh warning of a possible terror attack. The alert said that Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militants are planning to strike locations such as Pissu Top and Sheshnag.
Pilgrims stalled due to heavy rains
The Amarnath Yatra began on June 28 and the third batch that left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp via Pahalgam route was stopped at Tikri base camp. They couldn't move ahead as there were landslides triggered by heavy rainfall, ANI reported
Amarnath Yatra Suspended
The Amarnath Yatra, for which thousands of people have travelled to Jammu and Kashmir, has been suspended due to bad weather.
"Due to inclement weather and bad condition of the roads both in Baltal and Pahalgam routes. Amarnath Yatra will remain suspended today," NDTV quoted the Jammu Police Control Room as saying.
People living in low-lying areas have been asked to stay alert and prepared to evacuate. Authorities have also been asked to provide all the rescue support and relief shelters and keep an eye on vulnerable areas.
About 165 students rescued in Shopian
The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and the police reportedly rescued 165 students on Friday, June 29, from a school in the Shopian district. The children were trapped in the school premises as the Rambiara stream had swelled due to heavy rains.
"Police with the help of SDRF rescued 165 students of Government Boys School Hirpora, Shopian who were trapped in the deluge because of flood in the river," PTI quoted a state official as saying.