As the countdown for the Amarnath Yatra has begun, security agencies in Jammu and Kashmir have been put on high alert amid reports of terrorists possessing sticky bombs to target pilgrims. Sources in the intelligence agencies told The Daily Guardian Review that the centre has specific information that vehicles carrying Amarnath pilgrims can be attacked with sticky bombs. Amarnath Yatra will kick start on June 30 after a gap of two years. More than 3 lakh pilgrims are expected to undertake the Amarnath Yatra this year which has been the highest in many years.
In a bid to counter the security threat, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will also be equipped with high-tech gadgets. The names of these special gadgets, which are withheld due to security reasons, are learnt to be used for some specific purpose, said a source in security wind requesting
anonymity, adding that “these gadgets include some of them manufactured by Israel”.
Besides, the source said, the number of drones for surveillance is being increased during the pilgrimage and it is estimated that over 50 are to be used only on twin routes of Pahalgam and Baltal.
For the first time, another officer in the CRPF said, an “integrated” effort is being put across all forces concerned including Army, CRPF, Jammu and Kashmir Police, Jammu and Kashmir administration and Amarnathji Shrine Board members.
The officer said security agencies 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. The inputs came during the interrogation of arrested terrorists and their sympathisers and other evidence which 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, said the officer.
“As the sticky bombs can be only used in unattended civilian vehicles, the message is being circulated not to leave any vehicle unattended,” said the officer.
It has been decided that vehicles of pilgrims as well as of security forces will be secluded during their movement, some other officials, privy to the development said.
“Instructions have also been issued to the security forces as well as those managing the pilgrimage not to leave vehicles unattended.”
The ‘sticky bombs’ emerged on the terror scene in February last year in Kashmir 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.
Sticky bombs, which were also used by the British forces during World War II, can be put on any vehicle and detonated through remote control or an in-built timer, the officials said.