SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to land in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday on a two-day visit during which he is expected to take a call on extending the Ramzan ceasefire. Singh, who will be accompanied by senior ministry officials, will hold a series of meetings with stakeholders before making an announcement on whether the ceasefire will be extended beyond Eid-ul-Fitr, expected be on either June 15 or 16, and during the 60-day Amarnath yatra beginning June 28. He is also expected to attend an iftar to be hosted by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, a home ministry official said.
“There will be a detailed review of the situation since May 16 when the Centre unilaterally announced suspension of antiterror operations during the month of Ramzan. Singh will chair a security review meeting at SKICC, during which police, CRPF, army and intelligence officials will brief him about the post-ceasefire security situation in Kashmir. The security officials will give their feedback to him in the form of a PowerPoint presentation,” an official source said. Although militants have resorted to gun and grenade attacks on security forces during the ceasefire period, the level of violence has come down drastically.
However, 19 people, including 14 militants, an army man, a Special Police Officer and three civilians have been killed. Encounters between militants and security forces, which were frequent before the ceasefire announcement, are close to zero. Singh is also scheduled to hold meetings with Governor NN Vohra and the Chief Minister. The recent incidents of stonepelting, attacks on security forces in the Kashmir Valley and infiltration attempts along the border will figure in the meetings Singh will hold with the security forces’ top brass, an official said.
The Home Minister’s visit comes amid an offer for talks with the Hurriyat Conference. During his stay in Kashmir, Singh will travel to the frontier district of Kupwara where he will review some projects being undertaken as part of the Border Area Development Programme. The next day, he will visit Jammu and take stock of the situation along the International Border, where at least 20 people, including a dozen security personnel, have been killed in firing by Pakistani forces.