JEHANGIR ALI | 10 SEPTEMBER, 2017
Rajnath Singh Kashmir Visit Sparks Off Fresh Violence
SRINAGAR: With the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh camping in the capital Srinagar, Kashmir has been swept by a wave of violence that has resulted in the killing of a cop and two militants while an encounter is underway in Shopian district.
A moderate to complete shutdown is being observed in the Valley today following the call of the Hurriyat leaders who had planned to court arrest in the national capital yesterday against the raids by the National Investigations Agency.
However, the top Hurriyat leaders were either put under detention in their homes or arrested by police which foiled their plan of “march to the national capital” against the arrest spree by NIA which is investigation the ‘terror funding’ case.
Singh arrived on a four-day visit to the state yesterday and held meetings with the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, other cabinet ministers and the state administration, to review the progress on Prime Minister’s Rs 80,000 crore Development Package.
According to official spokesperson, the Chief Minister asked the Home Minister to “reach out to all sections of the society in the State which has been duly recognized in the Agenda of Alliance (AoA)”.
“She said the needs and problems of the people of the State have been recognized in the AoA and its implementation needs to be fast paced,” the spokesperson said.
Before leaving for the Valley from the national capital, Rajnath had tweeted: "I am going there with an open mind and I am willing to meet anyone who will help us in finding solutions to problems facing J&K."
The Home Minister is staying at the Nehru Guest House in the lush-green Zabarwan Hills flanking Dal Lake here for the next two days during which he is scheduled to meet a number of delegations.
However, violence erupted in south Kashmir soon after the Home Minister landed in the state with a J&K Police constable identified as Imtiyaz Ahmad shot dead by suspected militants who also snatched his weapon.
In the adjacent Shopian district’s Barbugh village, a militant was killed and another arrested while fresh firing erupted at the encounter site after which more reinforcements were called in today morning.
Forces also shot dead a district commander of Hizbul Mujahideen in Baramulla district of north Kashmir yesterday.
Rajnath Singh is scheduled to visit south Kashmir, the epicentre of last year's uprising after the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani on July 8. He will also visit Jammu and Rajouri and is scheduled to address press conference in Srinagar on September 11 and in Jammu on September 12.
The visit comes over a fortnight after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a conciliatory approach, called for embracing Kashmir while denouncing separatism and 'handful of people' for creating trouble in Kashmir.
“The problem will be solved neither by abuse nor bullets - it will be solved by embracing all Kashmiris… And we are moving forward with this resolve,” PM Modi had said in his Independence Day speech from the ramparts of Red Fort.
Kashmir has been reeling under curfews and shutdowns since the killing of Burhan Wani, although the situation has significantly improved over the last three months.
Political parties, including the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the Opposition National Conference, have urged the Centre to start a dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference and find an "lasting solution" to the lingering problem.
"Na golli say na gaali say, galay lagana say J&K ka masla hal ho ga. We look forward to seeing these words from Red Fort on 15th Aug acted on," former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, soon after the home minister left for J&K.