Frequent visits by Mehbooba to militancy hotbed unnerve police
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s visits to the homes of two militants’ families in south Kashmir in the past five days have unnerved top police officers and the Special Security Group (SSG), which counselled her against travelling to the region known as a hotbed of insurgency.
Mufti, who has Z Plus category security, putting her among individuals perceived to be most at risk of attack, travelled to Pulwama and Shopian districts against the advice of the SSG and the police, people aware of the situation said . The former CM neglected the standard operating procedure (SOP) and protocol required for travel by a VVIP, especially in areas where militants are active.
A senior police officer privy to the situation said Mufti travelled to Pettipora in Pulwama and Safnagri in Shopian, informing the SSG and police about the visits minutes before she set off for the villages in south Kashmir. “The SSG and police both requested the former chief minister not to take a risk by travelling to militant infested villages at such short notice. On both occasions, the former chief minister neglected the advice,” the officer said, requesting anonymity.
A senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader who travelled with Mufti confirmed that the SSG and police had requested the former chief minister not to visit the villages. “Mehbooba Mufti informed the officials half an hour before she left her official residence...She is a political leader and this is not the first time that she went to areas where militants are present,’’ he said.