Srinagar: Home minister Rajnath Singh is arriving in Srinagar on Saturday morning on a two-day visit to oversee the situation in the valley, where 49 people have been killed by government forces and more than 2200 injured.
Singh is the first Indian top leader who will be visiting the valley since the beginning of massive anti-India uprising that erupted after the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
Sources said Rajnath Singh would arrive here at 11 am and straightway drive to highly-fortified Nehru Guest House in the neighbourhood of Raj Bhawan. He would be first briefed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who is struggling to find a toehold to regain order in the valley paralysed by official curfew and restrictions in some areas and shutdown sponsored by pro-freedom alliance in others.
Singh had announced on Tuesday in Rajya Sabha that Mehbooba Mufti has invited him to visit Srinagar “after the situation improves”.
“I will go there and won’t stay at Raj Bhawan. There is a place called Nehru Guest House. I will stay there and interact with the people,” he had said.
Rajnath would also interact with Governor NN Vohra to take stock of annual Amarnath yatra that was hugely affected by the anti-India campaign.
Governor is the ex-officio Chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) that manages and regulates the annual pilgrimage. Despite hiccups, the authorities have continued the yatra amid tight security but only a trickle of devotees is embarking on the pilgrimage in the backdrop of Kashmir situation.
Officials said that Rajnath will meet representatives of political parties, social organisations and leading citizens to get their feedback about the situation as well as future roadmap.
Observers say that home minister’s visit indicates that New Delhi is following the pattern adopted in 2008 and 2010 summer agitations to find a toehold to end anti-India protests and then assert the Indian government’s rule.
Rajnath would arrive a day after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti chaired an all-party meet at SKICC to discuss the “prevailing law and order situation”. The all-party meet, boycotted by main opposition party National Conference, had appreciated the debate in both houses of Parliament over Kashmir.
Observers say that the state government’s efforts to restore “order” in valley have so far failed. On Thursday, the government and private schools did not reopen in four districts of Baramulla, Bandipora, Kupwara and Ganderbal due to curfew and shutdown. The state government had announced reopening of schools in these districts to give an impression of normality.