May 2018 News

Rajnath Singh Plans Eid Vsit To Kashmir

31 May 2018
The Economic Times
Hakeem Irfan

Srinagar: Union home minister Rajnath Singh is likely to visit JK ahead of Eid for security review to take decision on extension of unilateral ceasefire besides taking stock of arrangements for Amarnath Yatra, which will begin on June 28. The visit also assumes importance as Singh recently stated that the government was open to dialogue with Hurriyat and Pakistan, to which Hurriyat leaders responded by asking for more clarity over the initiative. JK government officials said that they expect Singh to arrive around June 10 for two days and chair detailed review meetings with the officials of Army, police, paramilitary forces and the government functionaries to assess the ground situation. The home minister would also deliberate on the situation in border areas, especially in Jammu, as Director General of Military Operations of both India and Pakistan have agreed to respect 2003 ceasefire agreement and stop firing on borders. In last three weeks, 12 people, including 10 civilians and two BSF personnel, were killed, scores were injured and over 50,000 residents of forward areas had to migrate due to heavy exchange of fire. JK chief minister Mehbooba Mufti camped in Delhi last weekend to follow up on New Delhis initiatives and push for prolonging of non-initiation of combat operation after Eid till Amarnath Yatra, which will conclude in August. In Delhi, she also met senior BJP leaders to prepare ground for Singhs JK visit especially regarding dialogue process. According to sources, she had detailed meeting with Army officials convincing them to extend the ceasefire. We expect that home ministers visit will reiterate and bring home the message of peace, reconciliation and development, JK government spokesperson and senior PDP leader Naem Akhtar told ET. The home minister would also review the security arrangements for Amarnath Yatra, which has to pass through sensitive areas of south Kashmir.