PM Modi to visit J-K’s Katra on a day-long visit

  • Agencies, Jammu
  • Updated: Apr 19, 2016 10:25 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he address a public meeting ahead of the legislative assembly election in Kolkata on April 17, 2016. (AFP Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday to inaugurate a hospital and interact with people amid a volatile situation in Kashmir following the death of five people in police firing last week.

A special plane carrying the PM will land at the technical area of Jammu airport. Governor NN Vohra, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, senior ministers of the PDP-BJP ruling coalition government and top army and civil administration officials will receive the Prime Minister at the airport.

This is Modi’s first visit to the state after the swearing-in of Mufti as the chief minister of the PDP-BJP government and the third to the Katra shrine since he took office in May 2014.

“I am looking forward to being in Jammu and Kashmir tomorrow where I will attend a wide range of programmes and interact with citizens,” he had tweeted on Monday.

The PM’s visit comes a day after fresh protests erupted in Handwara and neighbouring areas of Kupwara district in north Kashmir, prompting authorities to reimpose curfew-like restrictions which were relaxed for a few hours in the morning, while mobile internet services have been restored in the Valley.

The twin towns of Handwara and Kupwara had been rocked by violent protests over the alleged molestation of a girl by an army soldier in which five people have died since last Tuesday. After a lull Sunday, fresh protests broke out on Monday in Handwara, Kralgund and Trehgam areas.

The schoolgirl told a magistrate on Saturday that she was not molested by the soldier after a Jammu and Kashmir high court order on a petition filed by her mother, who alleged the 16-year-old made a video statement under duress to clear the army’s name, asked the police to record her statement.

She told the magistrate that two boys assaulted her on the way from school in Handwara town of Kupwara district on April 12, police said on Sunday. The girl reiterated what she said in the video — that she was not molested by a soldier.

Chief minister Mufti visited Handwara on Saturday and met relatives of those killed in the shooting. She assured them justice.

PM’s engagements

PM Modi will fly to Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine base camp town of Katra in Reasi district along with Vohra and Mufti.

He will address the convocation of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University later in the day.

He is also scheduled to formally inaugurate the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Super Speciality Hospital. The 250-bed hospital has been built at a cost of Rs. 300 crore and is equipped with state of the art facilities.

The facility has been set up by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board near Katra in Reasi district, an official said.

Free of cost OPD services and diagnostic tests started at the hospital from March 15. The hospital became fully functional from April 8.

“The hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art computerized equipment to provide best possible diagnostic and treatment facilities to the patients,” the official said.

The Prime Minister will also inaugurate a sports complex and address a public rally in Katra town.

Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board’s management said pilgrim can continue to visit the shrine during the Prime Minister’s visit to Katra.

However, helicopter services carrying pilgrims from Katra town to the Trikuta Hills where the cave shrine is located will remain suspended as a security measure.

Dozens of specially trained commandos of the special protection group (SPG) have been deployed around the town.

(With PTI and IANS inputs)

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