PM begins Kashmir visit today
Security Tightened, UAVs Deployed For Reconnaissance
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, June 6: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be on a two-day visit to Kashmir from Monday during which he is expected to renew the offer for talks with separatists and review the progress in the Round Table peace initiative and development work being undertaken in the state.
Official sources said the Prime Minister will address convocation of the Sher-e-Kashmir Agricultural University in Srinagar. Governor NN Vohra, who is also the university’s Chancellor, had invited Singh to the event.
It will be for the second time that the Prime Minister will be visiting the Kashmir valley after he got a second term last May. He was in Srinagar last October.
Singh will also be accompanied by Union Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Prithviraj Chauhan.
The Prime Minister will begin his visit by holding consultations with various political parties of the state over the progress on recommendations made during Round Table Conference chaired by him.
The visit comes against the backdrop of the “quiet diplomacy” initiated by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram with the separatist leaders failing to make any headway as the Hurriyat refused to join the process.
Dr Singh is likely to renew the offer of the Union Government to hold talks with separatists asking them to work towards restoring normalcy in the state.
At the last Roundtable session in 2007, five working groups were set up to resolve the issues confronting Jammu and Kashmir. The groups, which have submitted their reports, dealt with improving Centre’s relations with the State, furthering the relations across the Line of Control (LoC), giving a boost to the State’s economic development and good governance.
The groups also recommended confidence-building measures across different segments of society including rehabilitation of the destitute families of militants and reviewing the cases of detainees.
Dr Singh is expected to hold meetings with various political parties of the state during which ruling National Conference is likely to seek early talks on providing greater autonomy in the state as recommended by Saghir Ahmed Committee set up by the Prime Minister himself while Peoples Democratic Party would reiterate its demand for Self-Rule, the sources said.
A meeting with senior bureaucrats and Army and police officials was also being planned to discuss the security scenario in the border state.
UAVS DEPLOYED FOR RECONNAISSANCE
Zulfikar Majid /Gowhar Bhat add from Srinagar: Besides multi-tier security arrangement, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have been pressed into service to thwart any Fidayeen attack on the eve of Prime Minister’s Kashmir visit on Monday, top police sources told Greater Kashmir.
They said UAVs made special sorties from Manasbal airbase in north Kashmir on Sunday. “As the army has warned of a possible Fidayeen attack on the Prime Minister’s visit, UAVs were put into service to thwart any such possibility. These high-tech aircraft, remote-controlled by the crew miles away, are capable of reconnaissance, combat and support roles in the hairiest of battles,” they said. “Besides dozens of police officers in civvies were patrolling the areas Dr Singh is scheduled to visit Monday. Some police officers had been called from Jammu on special duty for PM’s visit.”
“Authorities have also kept anti-riot force ready to thwart any protests on the day,” they added.
Meanwhile, multi-tier security has been put in place here even as there would be restrictions on civilian movement including tourists from Dalgate upto Nishat. All the tourist spots along the posh Boulevard Road including Mughal gardens have been closed for next two days.
Police, CRPF and other security agencies have made elaborate measures for the PM’s visit. Sources said additional troopers have been deployed all along the Boulevard and the Gupkar Road. From Monday morning, the entire area would be out of bounds for the civilians including tourists.
Senior superintendent of police, (traffic-Kashmir), Showkat Sarwar, told Greater Kashmir, that traffic from Nishat, Shalimar, Harwan and other areas to Lal Chowk shall take the Hazratbal-Rainawari route. “Similarly traffic from Lal Chowk to these areas would be diverted via the same route,” he said. “No vehicle will be allowed to ply from Dalgate Chowk to Nishat.”
The Gupkar road has also been closed for the traffic. “Only vehicles with special passes issued by the district administration or SSP security will be allowed to ply on Gupkar Road,” he said.
The tourists, who want to move out of hotels and other accommodations, have been asked to leave their place before 6 am. “They will be allowed back only after 10 pm,” an official said.
The authorities have also ordered the closure of the Mughal gardens and other tourist spots along the Boulevard. “No one will be allowed to visit the Mughal gardens as there would be restrictions all around,” official said.
The restrictions would be lifted on Tuesday afternoon after PM’s departure for New Delhi.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 6 Jun 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 6 Jun 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 7 Jun 2010 00:00:00 IST
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