On Day 1 of J&K visit, Amit Shah reviews security situation
Union home minister Amit Shah co-chaired a meeting to review the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir on the first day of his two-day visit to Srinagar on Wednesday.
At the unified command meeting, Shah was briefed about the overall security situation in the Valley and the arrangements made for the two-month-long Amarnath pilgrimage, according to officials aware of the developments. The unified command comprises top officers of army, Jammu and Kashmir police and paramilitary forces involved in counter-insurgency operations in the state.
The pilgrimage to the cave shrine in militancy-hit South Kashmir would begin on July 1 amid three-tier security arrangements. Shah asked security forces to pay special attention to “anti-subversion and access control drills” during the pilgrimage, according to officials cited above.
There is no “specific threat” that security agencies have flagged, but the possibility of a “stray attack” cannot be ruled out altogether, a security official said on condition of anonymity.
Officials also gave a power point presentation at the meeting about the ongoing anti-militancy operations in the Valley and especially South Kashmir, which has since 2016 emerged as a militant hotbed. There has been a spike in militant violence over the last few months. As many as 112 militants and 73 security force personnel have been killed this year in Kashmir. Five Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed in an attack on security forces in Anantnag on June 12. Jammu and Kashmir police officer Arshad Khan, who was injured in the attack, died later.
The Anantnag attack was the deadliest since the February 14 strike along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Pulwama district that left 40 CRPF personnel dead. Amarnath pilgrims take the highway to reach the two base camps for the pilgrimage in Pahalgam and Baltal before trekking to reach the cave shrine in the Himalayas.
Officials said Shah will hold a separate meeting with top civil officials to review the progress of several developmental projects in the state. Shah also separately reviewed the progress of developmental schemes. He directed state government officials to facilitate investments to generate employment opportunities for the local youth, according to the officials cited above.
Shah will also visit the Amarnath cave shrine and meet state BJP leaders, former legislators as well as a 30-member delegation of Panchayat members. He is also expected to hold meetings with members of civil society groups.
Shah’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir is his first since he took office following the BJP’s return to power last month. He arrived four days after governor Sayta Pal Malik said Hurriyat Conference was ready for talks with the Centre as things have started to change in the Valley. Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq responded to Malik’s comments saying they were never opposed to meaningful talks.