Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has arrived at Jammu and Kashmir to take stock of the prevailing law and order situation in the Valley. A team of senior home ministry officials and Directors-General (DGs) of central paramilitary forces are accompanying Rajnath Singh. He will chair a high-level security meeting besides one-on-one interaction Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
Singh will be staying at the state government-run Nehru Guest House to ensure that he is accessible to all. He will also be making a road journey from the Srinagar airport to the guest house, rather than flying in a chopper.
The home minister is likely to visit some areas in South Kashmir that have been worst hit by the ongoing cycle of violence in which 48 people have been killed. Union home minister Rajnath Singh will not be engaging Kashmiri separatists during his two-day deliberations with various stakeholders in Jammu & Kashmir in Srinagar.
Singh, who will be in the Valley for the first time since violent protests broke out following the killing of Hizbul terrorist Burhan Wani, will be hearing out political parties, civil society groups, media representatives, local businessmen/traders, security agencies and state government brass.
"He will have one-on-one interactions with leaders of various political parties. The purpose is to give them a forum to air their grievances and get their perspective on the situation in J&K," said a source close to the home minister.
The final leg of his meetings is with the security agencies and J&K government brass, involving a comprehensive law and order review and outlining of further strategies.
This is Rajnath Singh’s second visit to Kashmir during this month. He came here earlier on July 2 when eight CRPF troopers were killed by fidayeen militants in Pampore area of Pulwama district. Rajnath Singh had performed the Amarnath Yatra and paid obeisance at the Hazratbal shrine
In the parliament Rajnath Singh had said that security forces were instructed to exercise maximum restraint while dealing with the protesters in the Kashmir Valley. He also said that an experts' committee will review the use of pellet guns by security forces. "It is not like pellet guns were not used in Kashmir in the past, they were, in fact, used in 2010 as well and they are listed as non-lethal weapons. We will, however, form a committee of experts, which will tell us in two months the non-lethal alternatives to these guns," Rajnath said.
"The Kashmir issue needs to be dealt with collectively. Everyone needs to partake in the responsibility of making the situation better," Singh said.