Fearing a repeat of summer agitation of 2016 that left the state crippled for over six months, the Union Government is contemplating to keep plans ready so that any eventuality that surfaces in the Valley is faced with a well drafted and laid out plan.
Sources in the government told ‘Kashmir Vision’ that the Centre has already given a free hand and full authority to J&K Governor N N Vohra to oversee the security related issues.
Reliable sources said that Centre has already given a nod to this development and has asked the Governor N N Vohra to oversee the security related issues.
“Governor has been asked to chair security related meetings with the DGP, Army and the CRPF after ever week or fortnightly to ensure peace prevails in Kashmir,” they said.
“In the meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary in Srinagar, the decision in this regard was also conveyed to the heads of various security agencies, who were present.”
Sources said that Ministry of Home Affair’s took the decision to empower Governor after suggestions from various intelligence agencies that multi-pronged strategy should be adopted to ensure peaceful summer in Kashmir.
“On Monday (May 15), Governor has conveyed first security review meet at Rajbhawan where he will discuss the measures to be taken to ensure smooth Yatra,” sources in the Rajbhawan said.
A senior police official, revealed that smooth Yatra, which would start from June 28 from twin routes, Chandanwari in Pahalgam area of South Kashmir and Baltal in Sonmarg area of Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district will be discussed in the meeting as well,” he said.
Pertinently, as the summer has arrived in the valley of unease, security agencies are in a huddle with a concrete summer strategy already in place to meet with a series of challenges.
Smooth Amarnath Yatra, incident free flow of force’s convoy’s, the apprehensions of possibility surge in the infiltration attempts and last but not the least, dealing with the militant attacks.
Interestingly, the security grid comprising, Police, Army, and the CRPF are already in a huddle after the recent crucial meeting chaired by the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi in a hotel in Srinagar.
CRPF Spokesman in Srinagar, Rajesh Yadav said that Yatra is obviously a big challenge as one of the routes to the holy cave passes through South Kashmir, which is hypersensitive on the security front. “A new security plan, which includes demand for additional forces for the smooth Yatra, will also be sent to MHA,” he said.
The security grid in Kashmir, sources said, will face another challenge in the form of convoy movement on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.
“Besides, ensuring smooth Yatra, incident free convoy movement will be a herculean task for the forces. For this, 200 CCTVs have been sanctioned for the highway stretch only. Many of them have already been installed,” a source, privy to the move, told Kashmir Vision.
Sources said that General Officer Commanding (GoC) of Srinagar based 15 Corps, Lt General J S Sandhu, had briefed Union Home Secretary about the challenges that could confront forces in Kashmir in the summer.
“GoC told Union Secretary that Army had strong inputs that Pakistan may push in over 150 militants from various infiltration route along the LoC in north Kashmir’s Baramulla and Kupwara districts this summer,” sources said. “The Army officer, however, stressed that though there was a robust anti-infiltration grid in place across the LoC, but zero infiltration can’t be ensured.”
According to the Annual report of MHA for year 2016-17, 361 infiltration bids were made in year 2016, which was the highest since 2013. An army officer, posted in Srinagar said that infiltration would be a big challenge for the Army this summer.
Last but not the least, another measure task for the forces in Kashmir in the summer months, would be to ensure encounters without any collateral damage.
“A decision has been taken to go after militants including wanted commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba. Most of the operations are likely to take place in South Kashmir, where militants of late enjoy a great public support,” a senior police officer said.
“But we have to make it a point that no civilian causality takes place at the encounter sites. Protests at the encounter sites have been a major headache for us. Many steps have been taken to prevent civilian causalities at gunfight sights. Let’s see, how far we would succeed.” Former IGP Kashmir zone, SJM Gilani recently said that 200 militants were active in Kashmir of which 110 were locals.