Amid tight security, the 48-day long annual Amarnath yatra on Friday began in Jammu with Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh flagging off the first batch of 1,282 pilgrims for the cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas.
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The pilgrims started with chanting 'Bam Bam Bholay' and singing bhajans. The pilgrims, who reached the Bhagwati Nagar base camp from various parts of the country, left for their onward journey to Pahalgam and Baltal base camps from where they will proceed to
the cave shrine, located at a height of 3,888 metre, tomorrow.
As many as 12,500 central paramilitary personnel and 8,000 state policemen will be deployed along the two routes in
South Kashmir's Pahalgam and Northeast Sonamarg as the state has faced terror attacks in the Kashmir Valley.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is arriving on a two-day visit in Kashmir and is likely to take part in 'Pratham Darshan' of 'ice lingam' at the shrine.
Deputy Chief Minister said adequate security forces have been sent by the central government to ensure an incident-free yatra.