Home Minister In Kashmir: Omar-Chidam Meet Will Decide On Release Of Stone Pelters30 October 2010
Srinagar: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram will hold a one-to-one meeting with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, and a separate one with the ruling dispensation on Sunday, to gauge the ground situation in Kashmir in the backdrop of four-month long unrest in the Valley. Chidambaram likely to announce the release of youth arrested since June 11 under the charge of stone-throwing. The Home Minister arrived in Leh on Saturday to take stock of the development and is scheduled to arrive in Srinagar Sunday afternoon. His visit comes close on the heels of the wrapping up of its Kashmir visit by the three-member team of interlocutors, comprising Dileep Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar and M M Ansari. Sources said owing to certain reasons, the Home Minister would spend half of Sunday in Srinagar. “He is likely to go to north Kashmir’s Baramulla district for an hour or so to interact with the people, especially youth. In Srinagar, he will meet the CM separately and will also hold a meeting with the ruling coalition,” sources said. A senior Congress minister, wishing anonymity, said the Home Minister would spend less time in Srinagar. “But he won’t leave before meeting the senior Congress and NC leaders. Besides, he would take a feedback from the Congress leaders about party functioning and overall development in Kashmir following the four-month long unrest,” he said. Sources said Chidambaram would like to get a first-hand account of the ground situation in Kashmir, which seems to be heading towards normalcy after 111 killings since June 11. Sources said he may announce the release of scores of stone-throwers who have been arrested since June 11. “He is likely to announce withdrawal of all charges against the detained stone-throwers, including Public Safety Act,” sources said. More than 2000 stone-pelters have been arrested over the past four months. “He may suggest some measures in bringing the situation under control. Besides, he will also review the overall developmental schemes, especially the centrally sponsored schemes. He is likely to suggest steps to deal with the Hurriyat (G) protest calendars,” sources said. “Owing to the delay in implementation of various CSCs, given the perpetual strife, Chidambaram may direct the state government to speed up the work,” sources said. It may be recalled that CSCs have shown a slow progress, including the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Program launched in 2004. “Initially, Rs 24,000 crore was released for JK under PMRP which was later enhanced to Rs 30,000 crore. However, only 30 per cent of the amount has been spent,” sources said. The SKICC, sources said, has been selected as the venue for meeting the coalitions partners.