Srinagar, Jun 07 : With Kashmir topping the list of his ministry, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is all set to arrive in Kashmir next week to take stock of the situation prevailing on various security related fronts and to get feedback from the security agencies on the preparations put in place for the smooth conduct of Amarnath Yatra commencing from July 1.
Soon after he was sworn in as the country’s Home Minister, Shah stirred hornet’s nest by hinting at his ministry’s proposal of going for delimitation of Assembly seats that stands banned till 2022. He chaired a series of meetings on Kashmir in Delhi to get the fresh feedback of the situation prevailing on ground zero.
Reliable sources told KNS that Shah has decided to visit Kashmir next week between 10 to 15 June to assess the situation himself. “He is likely to chair the meeting of unified headquarters in Srinagar where Governor S P Malik and heads of all the security agencies are expected to participate. Shah has also sought the power point presentation of the security plan framed for the smooth conduct of annual pilgrimage of Amarnath commencing from July 1,” the sources said.
Shah’s visit is also significant as with 48 hours of assuming the office of the home minister, he took multiple steps related to Jammu and Kashmir.
Also, CRPF DG gave him a presentation regarding Amarnath Yatra, which was majorly handled by the CRPF. The government is gearing up for Amarnath Yatra — a 46-days-long pilgrimage that commences on July 1.
It is also expected that Shah’s trip would be of two days where he will meet security forces personnel.
Shah has, no doubt, emerged as the deputy of Modi in the government and the second most powerful minister.
An official in the Union Home Ministry told KNS that Shah will apprise the security top brass in Kashmir about his fresh policy vis-à-vis Kashmir and pass certain direction for ensuring peace in the region. “The Home Minister will also seek information from the security heads about the status of militancy and infiltration in Kashmir and the measures taken to deal with it so far,” the official said.
Pertinently, soon after Shah took over, the MHA issued a fresh list of top 10 wanted militants with Hizbul Mujahideen commander Reyaz Naikoo topping the list. Sources said that Shah may seek opinion from the political parties about his plans of going for the delimitation of Assembly seats. Bhartiya Janata Party leadership in New Delhi have been crying hoarse that Jammu region was facing discrimination as far as Assembly seats were concerned. “Jammu region has 29 lakh voters and Kashmir 31 while as Valley has more seats than Jammu. Isn’t it a big discrimination,” a BJP leader asked.
Militant, Army officer killed in Anantnag gunfight
Srinagar, Jun 17: An Army officer and a militant were killed and three other soldiers including a Major injured in a gunfight in south Kashmir Anantnag district on Monday, police said.
Police sources said the officer was shot at during the firing exchange between the holed-up militants and security forces in Bidoora village in Achabal area of the district.
The slain militant was believed to be a foreigner.
SSP Anantnag, Altaf Khan said that the operation was launched following specific inputs about the presence of some militants in the area.
He said that as the joint team intensified the searches, the militants, hiding in the area, opened fire which was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight.
Initially, sources said, the joint team of forces and militants exchanged gunfire for some time during which the house, in which the militants were hiding, was damaged. Later there was a lull for about an hour even as Army rushed more reinforcements and the joint team started searches to find out the militants.
Soon the militants rose from the debris and opened indiscriminate fire on the forces, resulting in the on-spot death of Major Keetan Sharma and injuries to three others including another Army Major Rahul Verma, sources said.
They added the joint team of forces retailed the fire, leading to the fresh gunfight in an open field. While one militant was killed and the search operation is underway to find if there is any more militant hiding in the area.
The identity and group affiliation of the slain militant is being ascertained, sources said.
Meanwhile, youth took to streets and pelted stones at the security forces. The police and paramilitary CRPF deployed in the area used tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse them.
In wake of the operation, the authorities snapped internet service in the southern district.
IED blast in Pulwama, 6 soldiers, 2 civilians injured
Srinagar, Jun 17: Militants on Monday attempted to blow off an Army vehicle in a village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
A police official said that an armoured vehicle of Army came under an IED attack in Hargam Arihal village of Pulwama. He added that after the blast militants also fired some gunshots towards the vehicle.
Local residents informed that they heard huge blast followed by gunshots.
Reports said that six soldiers and two civilians were injured in the blast. The soldiers were shifted to Army’s 92 base hospital at Badamibagh, Srinagar for treatment.
The area was soon cordoned off, officials said.
Earlier, reports said that militants exploded an IED under a Casper vehicle, extensively damaging it, as an army convoy passed through Arihal. However, the army clarified that the damaged vehicle was not a Casper, but an Ashok Leyland Stallion truck.
Three of them who were travelling in the cabin of the vehicle are stated to be serious, the news agency reported.
The blast was triggered by militants using a car laden with explosives, GNS reported attributing the same to “initial investigations by police.”
“A police officer that the explosives were fitted inside a car and investigators are probing the owner of the vehicle. Asked, which type of vehicle was used, the officer said that it is a matter of investigation,” the news agency reported.
“Samples have been collected and further probe is underway,” the officer was quoted saying.
In a statement, the Army called the attack a “failed attempt” by militants. The troops are safe, barring a few minor injuries, it said, adding, “The area has been cordoned and search operations are in progress”.
The blast comes days after Pakistan had reportedly shared information with India and America regarding the possibility of major militant attack in the south Kashmir district. (With inputs from GNS)
Emotional scenes at slain SHO’s wreath-laying ceremony
Srinagar, Jun 17: Emotional scenes were Monday witnessed at District Police Lines (DPL) Srinagar as top cops and bureaucrats attended the wreath-laying ceremony of the slain police officer Arshad Khan, who had sustained critical injuries in a militant attack in Anantnag last week and later succumbed to his injuries at AIIMS, Delhi on Sunday.
J&K Police chief Dilbagh Singh, Advisors to Governor K Vijay Kumar and KK Sharma, Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmed Khan, ADGP Muneer Khan, and SSP Srinagar Dr Haseeb Mughal, among other civil and police officers were present on the occasion.
J&K Police shared two heart wrenching photos of Dr Mughal carrying the deceased’s son in his arms during the wreath-laying ceremony.
In the photos, a teary-eyed Haseeb is seen carrying slain Arshad Khan’s son while paying tributes to his colleague.
On the occasion, Advisor Kumar said that more than 1600 J&K Police personnel have lost their lives in the line of duty.
On June 12, around 4:50 pm, five paramilitary troopers and a militant were killed and four other security forces personnel including Arshad sustained injuries after militants attacked a joint party of CRPF and police at bus stand Anantnag.
Arshad was immediately evacuated to a nearby hospital and then to Srinagar’ SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura. After being treated there for a few days, he was flown to Delhi’s AIIMS hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.
According to police, Arshad was inducted into police services in the year 2002 and was presently posted as SHO Anantnag. Khan is survived by father and mother, wife Neelofar, 5-year-old son Abuhan Khan, Danim 2, and a brother.