February 2006 News

Kashmir situation is improving: Home Ministry

15 February 2006
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: Ahead of Prime Minister's talks with Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman Yasin Malik and a roundtable conference on February 24, a high-level team of the Union Home Ministry headed by Special Secretary A.K. Mitra arrived here on Wednesday to assess the ground situation. Mr. Mitra said the situation was fast improving with infiltration down but training camps had reappeared across the Line of Control. The team met with top officials of police and security forces here. Accompanied by Joint Secretary (Kashmir) in the Union Ministry, Mitalisen Gavai, Mr. Mitra flagged off an educational tour of 100 children, named 'Ehsas' (feeling). The Central Reserve Police Force sponsored it. Mr. Mitra told reporters that the situation was improving every day but 'we are not out of woods as yet. We have to see the things in comparison with what was happening in the past.' To a question, he said infiltration had gone down drastically and it could be because of the weather also as the passes are closed. But he maintained that training camps across the LoC were damaged due to earthquake. 'Some of them have re-appeared now and been relocated.' He ruled out the possibility of announcing a ceasefire within the State in the near future. He also denied having any knowledge about whether the separatists had agreed to take part in the Delhi roundtable conference. Fails to visit Kaman Post The team, scheduled to visit the Kaman Post, could not do so owing to bad weather. It had to assess the situation in view of the proposed truck service across the LoC. Ms Gavai confirmed that the truck service was very much on the cards but said 'modalities are being worked out.' The team would make fresh plans to visit the Kaman Post. Boys delighted The 100 boys from Gujjar and Bakarwal Hostel and orphans from 'Rahat Ghar' are happy to go on a tour during which they will have an opportunity to meet President Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other dignitaries. They will be visiting Delhi, Ajmer, Amritsar and Agra. 'We are delighted to be on this visit. I had never thought I will see Taj Mahal,' said Mehmood, a student. CRPF Inspector-General A.P. Maheshwari, who organised the tour, said 'the CRPF is not only playing a vital role in maintaining internal security but also winning [the] hearts of common people by organising such programmes.' The tour is part of CRPF's operation AMAN.


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