iconimg Sunday, May 03, 2015

Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 13, 2013
The UPA government may get its first taste of the political undercurrents in the Jhelum valley after the hanging of Afzal Guru, as early as next week.

Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh plans to visit Kashmir where his interactions would target local youth - perceived as the most vulnerable section of the Valley that has already seen sporadic violence over the execution.

The minister's tour is planned in the garb of a review of the skill development-cum-placement programme, Himayat, which enjoys patronage of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.

The programme's target is to train and place 1 lakh youth from J&K in organised sectors over five years (2011-12 to 2016-17).

Ramesh is awaiting clearance from the central security agencies but has already received a green signal from the state administration.

The Kashmir Valley is under curfew following Afzal's hanging but the minister thinks deferring political interventions may play a spoilsport and stresses on the immediate need to reach out to the locals.

Apart from Srinagar, some other J&K towns may also feature in his schedule.

Although the sudden hanging bears the potential to jeopardise the fragile normalcy in Kashmir, the plan to visit the state comes in the backdrop of Centre's recent measures to expedite the development in the state.