For the first time since Article 370 was abrogated, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has on Saturday arrived at Jammu and Kashmir on a three-day visit with a well-packed agenda, giving a primary focus on the region's security. His visit has gained national significance as it has come when the valley has been witnessing incessant killings of civilians.
The region had seen a heavy deployment of paramilitary forces to counter the attack on the civilians by terrorists. In wake of Amit Shah's visit, the security apparatus has been in an unprecedented fashion as several snipers, drones, and surveilling mechanisms have been deployed to shield the Home Minister. Amit Shah was the one who announced the abrogation of Article 370 from the semi-autonomous state in the Parliament in 2019.
Now, he is directly visiting the ground that he architected for the first time in two years. Besides repealing the special status, the Modi government had also bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories - Jammu and Ladakh. According to reports, tight security has been deployed across the region, particularly in Kashmir, during Amit Shah's visit. The officials had said that fifty companies of additional paramilitary forces are being inducted into the valley in light of civilian killings.
The region had also seen the emergence of several bunkers and the officials had said that the aim of constructing new bunkers and stationing more forces was to curb the free movements of militants. The vehicle check has been intensified and tight security has been installed around the BJP office at Jawahar Nagar in Srinagar, where Amit Shah will pay a visit.
Furthermore, roads leading to Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre have been made off-limits for three days from Saturday as Amit Shah is expected to attend an event at the centre. The reports say that the mobile internet services, mostly in the areas where some of the labourers got killed last week, were cut off three days ago as part of the security measures.
Amit Shah had landed at Srinagar airport on Saturday morning. After landing, he went to visit the family of J&K Police Officer Parvez Ahmed, who was among those killed by terrorists this month. Amit Shah had chaired a high-level meeting in which the security of the region was discussed. The meeting had discussed the matters of the growing threat of radicalisation, the killing of civilians, encounters with terrorists, and an increase in cross-border infiltration.
The meeting was also attended by J&K Governor Manoj Sinha during which the Union Home Minister had sought explanations on prolonged encounters and anti-terror operations. Speaking to a news agency, a Home Ministry official has said that while the Union government is thinking that J&K is safe for everyone, these killings had proven that minorities and outsiders are not safe. As it has become a growing concern for the government, the meeting had discussed pumping in a strategy to reassure the safety of the people.
As per the data available with the government, 32 civilians were killed so far this year while 41 were killed last year. Over 63 cases of terrorist-initiated encounters were filed in the last nine months and 28 incidents of atrocities committed by terrorists were registered. In Parvez Ahmed's house, Amit Shah has expressed his condolences to the former's family. Parvez Ahmed, who was the J&K Police Officer, was shot dead last month when he was returning home from a local mosque.
After offering condolences to Ahmed's family, Amit Shah had given documents of appointment to a government job to the police officer's widow, Fatima Akhtar. After the high-level meeting at Raj Bhavan, the Home Minister will hold an interaction with the members of Jammu and Kashmir's Youth Clubs. He will then inaugurate the first direct international flight between J&K's Srinagar and Sharjah in UAE at 6 pm on Saturday. Amit Shah will be staying in J&K for three days and the whole territory has been brought under the surveillance of the Central security agencies.
Srinagar | Union Home Minister Amit Shah holds security review meeting during his three-day visit to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir pic.twitter.com/ZE06g2mNad— ANI (@ANI) October 23, 2021