SRINAGAR: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to visit strifetorn Jammu and Kashmir next week to review security situation after unilateral Ramadan ceasefire announced by the government. Highly placed sources, including the State BJP leaders, said Singh is likely to arrive on a two-day visit to the State next week.
“The dates for Home Minister’s visit are being finalised,” they said. He will chair a high level meeting of top security officials in the State and will be briefed about the prevailing security situation, especially in the Valley.
“Top army, police, paramilitary and intelligence officials will update him about the security situation and effect of the Ramadan ceasefire,” they said. Although militants have not positively responded to the ceasefire, violence has drastically reduced in the Valley during the first 15 days of Ramadan. Eleven militants, an army man and three civilians have been killed in the violence. Nine militants were killed in encounters near Line of Control (LoC) while two others were killed in forest area in Kralagund, Handwara in Kupwara district.
There has been no civilian killing during anti-militancy operations, as troops have stopped Cordon and Search Operations (CASOs) and intelligence- based Search and Destroy Operations (SADO). Sources said after taking inputs from top security officials, Singh would hold talks with union home ministry officials to decide whether ceasefire can be extended during the 60-day Amarnath yatra period, which begins from June 28.
“Due to last year’s militant attack on yatris at Amarnath in which eight were killed, the home minister will direct security officials to beef up security and ensure that the pilgrimage to the cave shrine of south Kashmir Himalayas passes peacefully,” they said. According to sources, home minister would also review the situation along the LoC and International Border (IB) during review meetings with army and BSF officials. “Singh will also be briefed about the measures put in place to prevent infiltration from across the LoC and tackle ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops,” sources said. The home minister’s visit to the State assumes more significance as it would come some days after the separatist leaders sought clarity on talks offer to join the dialogue process.
PAK’S CEASEFIRE VIOLATION COSTS LIVES
The State witnessed surge in ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops from May 15 this year in which two BSF men and 10 civilians were killed and dozens others injured. The other side also suffered casualties in retaliatory firing by army and BSF. After the intense cross border firing and mortar shelling, the DGMOs of the two countries on Tuesday agreed to uphold the 2003 border ceasefire and avoid violations. Since then, calm and peace ihas been prevailing along the LoC and international border.