Rajnath takes first hand stock of situation in J&K

RSTV Bureau
Srinagar: Youths throwing stones at security forces after blocking a road during clashes in Srinagar, July 18, 2016. Photo - PTI

Srinagar: Youths throwing stones at security forces after blocking a road during clashes in Srinagar, July 18, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reached Kashmir to take a first-hand stock of situation in the valley, which remains under curfew for the last 15 days following the encounter killing of Hizbul commander and new militancy poster boy Burhan Wani. Chiefs of the two paramilitary forces posted in Kashmir – ITBP and BSF – are accompanying the Home Minister in his two-day visit.

45 people, including a policeman, have been killed and over thousands left injured in the clashes between protestors and the security forces. The fragile situation in the valley has found en echo in both the houses of Parliament as well.

During his visit, Rajnath Singh held an interaction with J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and senior officials, followed a meeting with the representatives of political parties, social organisations and leading citizens to get their feedback about the situation.

“We are sure that we will succeed in improving the condition in Kashmir,” he had said replying to the debate in Parliament.

Blaming Pakistan of playing a “key role” in fuelling tension in the valley, he had said “attempts” are being made to “misguide” a section of youth in Kashmir.

File photo of J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti  Photo - PTI

File photo of J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti
Photo – PTI

Among the agendas of his visit, one may be to take up the issue concerning the use of pellet guns by the security forces. The weapon, described as “non-lethal” by the security forces, has attracted lot of criticism after the reports of several eye injuries, many of them irreversible, inflicted by its use.

The Union Home minister has already announced setting up of an expert committee to recommend alternative to pellet guns for mob control in Kashmir.

Earlier, ahead of Rajnath’s two-day visit, the BJP, which is ruling the state government in coalition with PDP, did not rule out talks with separatists and said it would do “whatever is necessary” to restore peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The coalition of BJP and PDP was formed for peace and development of the state and we would ensure that there is peace and development,” BJP general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal said when sought o know whether there will be talks with the separatists to end the ongoing unrest in the Kashmir Valley.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh parried a direct reply to the question whether the government will hold talks with separatists to end unrest in Kashmir.

“Our priority is to bring normalcy in the valley, that is our priority and after that we will see…,” he said.

(With inputs from the Agencies)