Ahead of the June 24 meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and representatives from 14 political parties from Jammu and Kashmir, a core group of security met in Srinagar today to discuss the situation in the Union Territory.
“These talks are at the highest level and we do not want anyone to derail them. So there was a discussion on the prevailing security grid in the valley. Some gaps were mentioned which are being tightened,” a senior official said.
The meeting, which will take place in Delhi, is being seen as the centre’s first major outreach to leaders in the Valley after the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was revoked and it was bifurcated into two Union Territories.
The senior official said that a 48-hour alert has been issued in the Union Territory and along the Line of Control. “Although a ceasefire is in place, we don’t want to take chances,” he said.
The core group meeting was co-chaired by Jammu and Kashmir’s Director General of Police Dilbag Singh and Lieutenant General D P Pandey, General Officer Commanding of XV Corps. During the meeting, ongoing security operations and coordination among various agencies was discussed in detail.
Last week, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had reviewed the security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir.
The centre’s political outreach comes at a time when incidents of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir have seen a dip.
Data from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) points to almost a 50 per cent drop in incidents of violence under every head. But home grown terrorism continues to be a cause of concern for the central government.
According to the MHA data, out of the 54 terrorists gunned down by security forces this year, 52 were local residents. Last year, 112 terrorists had been killed in the Valley during the same period.
As per the data, 60 terrorism-related incidents have been reported in this year so far. Last year, the figure for this period was 101. Fourteen security personnel have been killed on duty in the Valley this year, as compared to 27 deaths during the same period last year. Even the number of civilian casualties reported have come down. This year, 13 civilians have been killed in incidents of violence. Last year, the number was 24 for the first six months.
“The level of violence has come down significantly in 2021. This is all due to synergy among various forces operating on the ground,” a senior official who attended the meeting said.
The official said this is the right time for the political outreach. “Political parties are also in its favour. Discussions in Delhi are going to revolve around this,” he added.
A senior official said Delhi is keen to initiate the political dialogue. “Raisina Hill wants to show the world that they are consulting all political parties and believe in dialogue with stakeholders,” the official said.
According to the official, political parties in Jammu and Kashmir are not happy with the ongoing delimitation process in the state, but efforts are being made to reach out to them. “Political activity is warming up. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha also discussed the delimitation issue with Home Minister Amit Shah during his recent visit to Delhi,” he added.