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Rajnath Singh on two-day J&K visit, to review suspension of operations against militants

The home minister is expected to a take a call on whether the present suspension of operations against the militants would be extended after the Eid festival to cover the annual Amarnath Yatra.

Reported by: Agencies, New Delhi [ Updated: June 07, 2018 11:45 IST ]
File photo of Home Minister Rajnath Singh
Image Source : PTI

File photo of Home Minister Rajnath Singh

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has arrived in Jammu and Kashmir's Srinagar for a two-day visit to the state. The home minister will review the law and order situation, with the state Governor NN Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and senior officials of various state and Central departments, before taking a take a call on whether the present suspension of operations against the militants would be extended after the Eid festival to cover the annual Amarnath Yatra.

The minister will also review the security arrangements for the yatra, set to begin from June 28.

While the state government wants the continuation of the Ramadan ceasefire beyond the Eid, top sources suggest the field commanders of the Army have argued that the cessation of hostilities from only one side is helping the militants to regroup and increase their numbers through recruitment of local boys.

Another important agenda on the Home Minister's priority list would be to deliberate upon the response of the separatist leaders to the offer of talks.

While Singh has said that the Centre is ready to talk to everyone including the separatists, BJP's National General Secretary Ram Madhav recently made an offer to the separatists to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the Centre.

The separatist leaders have been demanding clarity in the talks offer so that their engagement in the dialogue would yield results. 

Muzaffarabad-based conglomerate of armed groups, the United Jehad Council (UJC), has applied breaks on any imminent possibility of the Kashmiri separatist leaders to engage with the Indian government.

A statement issued by the UJC few weeks earlier said that talks would only be held with the Indian government once India accepts Kashmir as a dispute.

In addition to his all important security and political agenda, the Home Minister will also review the implementation of various Centrally sponsored developmental programmes.

On the second day of his visit, the home minister would also review the situation along the Indo-Pak border, where cross border firing led to death of at least 20 people and evacuation of several thousand people so far this year. 

The ongoing development projects, announced as part of the Rs 80,000 crore package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would also be reviewed in the meeting, another official said. 

A number of projects related to creating employment opportunities and sports infrastructure to attract youths might be unveiled during the visit. 

This was the second high-level visit to the state after the announcement of suspension of operations by the Centre on May 16. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited all the three regions of the state -- Ladakh, Srinagar and Jammu -- late last month. 

During his stay in Kashmir, the home minister would travel to the frontier district of Kupwara where he would review some projects being undertaken as part of the Border Area Development Programme. 

On the second day of the tour, the home minister would visit Jammu and take stock of the situation along the International Border where at least 20 people, including a dozen security personnel, were killed in firing by Pakistani forces. 

The central government had already decided to construct more than 28,400 bunkers in Jammu and Kashmir for the safety of residents living along the Indo-Pak border who often face shelling from the Pakistani side.

(With inputs from PTI, IANS)

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