JAMMU, INDIA, June 27, 2018 (Deccan Chronicle): Unperturbed by the looming terror threat, pilgrims who set out on the Amarnath Yatra on Wednesday said their unflinching faith in Lord Shiva and the security forces had motivated them to undertake the journey to the cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas. The first batch of nearly 3,000 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here amid tight security. The batch was escorted by CRPF personnel and a special motorbike squad equipped with cameras and various life-saving equipments.
Chants of "Bam Bam Bhole" and "Bharat Mata ki Jai" filled the air as the enthusiastic pilgrims, including 520 women and 21 children, left the base camp. They are scheduled to reach the Baltal and Pahalgam base camps in Kashmir later in the day. "We have come for the yatra on the call of Barfani Baba, leaving everything, including the fear of terror attacks, behind," Susheela, a spirited 65-year-old from Uttar Pradesh said. She is leading a group of 21 people, including her grandchildren. More manpower has been deployed this year compared to the previous years, said Inspector General of CRPF, Jammu, A.V. Chauhan. The IG said radio frequency (RF) identification chips had been introduced this year to help track all Amarnath-bound vehicles. He said the chips would also help guide any vehicles that may stray from the convoy and thereby prevent a repeat of last year's terrorist attack on a lone bus that left nine pilgrims dead.