Machail Mata yatra to begin in Kishtwar on 25 July  

Kishtwar, which was declared terrorism-free over a decade ago, was rattled by the killing of a State secretary of BJP and a senior RSS social worker, but the authority now believes that the Machail Yatra can be held peacefully

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Machail

Jammu: The 43-day long Machail Mata Yatra in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir would commence on 25 July, officials said on Saturday, as the district administration reviewed arrangements, including security for the annual pilgrimage.

Thousands of devotees from across the country visit the scenic Paddar valley, also famous for it’s Sapphire, during the yatra and pays obeisance at the holy shrine of goddess Durga in Machail village of Kishtwar after trekking a 30-km arduous route.

Kishtwar, which was declared terrorism-free over a decade ago, was rattled by the killing of State secretary of BJP Anil Parihar and his brother Ajeet Parihar on 1 November last year, followed by the assassination of senior RSS leader Chanderkant Sharma and his security guard inside a health centre on 9 April.

A meeting chaired by District Development Commissioner (DDC), Kishtwar, Angrez Singh Rana reviewed the arrangements for the yatra which is commencing from 25 July and scheduled to end on 5 September, the officials said.

They said senior civil and police officers, including Senior Superintendent of Police, Kishtwar, Shakti Kumar Pathak, besides representatives of the Army, CRPF, CISF, police and members of religious organisations attended the meeting.

Rana undertook detailed discussions with regard to arrangements to be made by the different departments and agencies to ensure hassle-free yatra, the officials said.

He asked the security agencies, including police, the CRPF and the Army to deploy sufficient personnel en route Thathri to Machail to avoid any untoward incident during the yatra, they added.

The officials said Rana impressed upon the departments concerned to ensure availability of potable drinking water, electricity, firewood, food grains, kerosene oil, medicines, life-saving drugs, telecommunication services, mobile banking facilities and other essential commodities.

He appointed project manager, Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP), as yatra officer who would keep a proper check and ensure that all arrangements are put in place for the general convenience of the pilgrims, they said.