Rajnath Singh visiting strife-torn Kashmir today, to review security situation

  • Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 24, 2016 14:32 IST
Home Minister Rajnath Singh at 52 SAG (NSG) Samlakha Camp,in New Delhi on Monday, 23 August 2016. Singh is going toJammu and Kashmir for a two-day visit on Wednesday, August 24, 2016. (Abhinav Saha/ HT Photo )

Union home minister Rajnath Singh will meet delegations from Kashmir’s civil society on Wednesday morning as the Centre steps up efforts to quell a seven-week spell of violence in the Valley that left 67 people dead and 10,000 injured.

Over the next 24 hours, the home minister is also expected to review the state’s security arrangement with chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and governor NN Vohra, before returning to Delhi on Thursday.

Read | Modi hints at Kashmir talks, says need to find permanent solution

This is Singh’s second visit in a month to strife-torn Kashmir that has been on the boil following the July 8 killing of insurgent leader Burhan Wani.

“During Rajnath’s last visit, people said once calm returns to the Valley, the minister will forget about listening to voices from Kashmir. But the minister promised he will keep coming back to the Valley to hear what the Kashmiris want to say. Therefore he is going back there again,” said a home ministry official.

Singh will meet civil society members at Srinagar’s Nehru Guest House but no meetings with separatist leaders have been scheduled.

Read | Separatists trash PM’s statement, say India should shun violence

Officials say the Centre’s immediate concern is to break the cycle of violence . The government has started the process of recruiting 16,000 more security personnel for the state and is looking at various economic measures for the youth.

“Our top priority is to implement curfew in the strictest manner so that people don’t gather on roads as it leads to clashes with security personnel,” said a senior government official.

The Centre has also fast-tracked the process of recruitment of around 10,000 special police officers, 1,000 paramilitary personnel and 5,000 troops for five India Reserve Battalions in the state, the official added.

The administration has also hastened the process of skill development and employment generation among the state’s youth. The home ministry plans to train to around 125,000 youth under its Udaan and Himayat schemes by March 31 next year.

Read | Will pursue agenda of political resolution, says Mehbooba

The government hopes the raft of measures will help in assuaging simmering anger among the state’s local population and curbing violence that has continued for almost two months on.

According to data available with the home ministry, the number of security personnel injured stand at 5,197 at the moment. Out of them around 2,000 are central security personnel and the rest belong to Jammu and Kashmir police. Around 5,600 civilians have also been injured.

Read | Caught in the line of fire: Lives of CRPF men in Kashmir

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