A Aalim Ahmad
Srinagar: India’s home minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Srinagar on a two-day visit to review the security situation in the backdrop of recent attacks on government forces, especially the daredevil fidayeen attack on a CRPF convoy at Pampore that killed eight troopers and wounded 22 others.
Singh’s visit coincides with the commencement of annual Amarnath yatra. With his arrival, the first batch of Amarnath pilgrims also reached Kashmir valley from Jammu. The yatra would formally begin on July 2.
Shortly after landing at Srinagar International Airport on Friday afternoon, Rajnath Singh drove to Raj Bhawan to chair a high-level meeting attended by governor NN Vohra, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and all top officials of government forces and intelligence agencies.
Sources said the meeting discussed the overall security situation in the state in the backdrop of recent spurt in militant attacks, increase in the number of militants entering Kashmir and the deadly attacks carried out by militants on Srinagar-Jammu highway.
The state authorities briefed the home minister on the efforts being taken to maintain peace in the state. He was apprised on the efforts being taken to tackle the sudden spurt in militant activities.
He was also briefed about the security arrangements for Amarnath yatra beginning on Saturday. The home minister urged upon the security agencies to ensure safety and security of people while tackling militant attacks.
The home minister arrived here at a time when a three- member team of home ministry is camping in Srinagar to review the security situation. The team was dispatched from New Delhi on the instructions of home minister to take stock of situation in the wake of Pampore attack. The team headed by Secretary Border Management Sushil Kumar visited the ambush site and several other spots where security forces have been targeted by the militants since January this year.
The team also had extensive discussions with all top officials of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) agencies, J&K police and intelligence agencies on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) being adopted in various situations besides infiltration status and spurt in militant activities.
The team is scheduled to submit its report to Rajnath Singh.
Official spokesman adds
An official spokesman said that Rajnath Singh expressed satisfaction over the performance of the state government “as well as the security forces and complimented them for excellent ground coordination and synergy.”
During the meeting a range of issues pertaining to the state were discussed. The minister assured of positive outcomes on issues of opening of more LoC routes for trade and business, giving permission to foreigners to visit Ladakh including Nubra valley, quick resolution of land related issues, increasing ex gratia payment to families of slain J&K police personnel at par with the central forces and restarting the police modernization. Rajnath Singh also instructed the CRPF and BSF to explore the possibility of conducting special recruitment drives in Jammu and Kashmir.
He asked the agencies to ensure fool proof security in the state, with primacy being to protecting the life and property of civilians. The State Government expressed its confidence of maintaining security in the state, including during the ongoing Shri Amarnath Yatra.
Union Home Minister also asked the BSF and the Army to step up the vigil at the International Border and the LoC.