POLITICS

Home Minister Rajnath Singh Chairs High-Level Meeting On Kashmir

Army Chief to fly out to the Valley today.

07/09/2016 1:08 PM IST | Updated 07/09/2016 1:14 PM IST
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A policeman uses a slingshot to hurl stones towards demonstrators during a protest in Srinagar against the recent killings in Kashmir August 29, 2016.

As the Chief of Army Staff General Dalbir Singh heads to Jammu and Kashmir to review security following the continuing violence in the Valley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired is chairing an all-party meeting in the national capital to assess the situation.

An all-party delegation that visited Kashmir has reportedly told the Home Minister that the state government has "failed to deal with the situation". The team's feedback will also be discussed during today's meeting, according to reports.

Hindustan Times reported that "hartal calendars" were allegedly being issued every day from Pakistan under the name of Kashmiri separatist leaders.

A note accessed by the Hindu, issued by the Home Ministry, stated that the Kashmir agitation had no "identifiable leadership".

"A daily calendar of hartal has been announced by separatists on a weekly basis without any break from July 8 to September 8," the note said.

The Army chief will be briefed about the security grid along the Line of Control and anti-militancy operations in the hinterland by senior army officers and local formation commanders, sources told PTI.

Since the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July, more than 70 people have died and 10,000 injured in clashes with security forces. There seems to be no end to the violence even as Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti harshly criticized the separatists for allegedly instigating the youths.

Gen Singh has called on Rajnath Singh and discussed with him the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

During the 15-minute meeting, he also briefed the Home Minister about the situation along the Line of Control, which is being guarded by the defence forces, sources said. The Army Chief also conveyed to Singh the situation in the Northeast, which he toured yesterday.

At least four persons were injured in fresh clashes today between protestors and security forces in south Kashmir's Anantnag district as restrictions on the assembly of people continued throughout the Valley.

A police official said that four persons sustained injuries when security forces fired pellets and tear smoke shells to chase away protestors in Anantnag.

He said while there was no curfew in any part of Kashmir, restrictions on the assembly of people were in placed in all districts of the Valley except Srinagar city.

Normal Life Affected

Restrictions on the assembly of people will remain in force to maintain law and order, he said.

The official said the decision to not clamp curfew anywhere in the Valley was taken in view of the improving situation despite clashes at some places including in Anantnag district where a youth was killed in security forces action.

Even as normal life across the Valley continued to remain affected due to the separatist sponsored strike, markets in Srinagar and other places came to life yesterday evening as shoppers thronged them in view of the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha festival which is being celebrated on September 13.

The commercial hub of Lal Chowk in the city centre here, along with the adjoining markets and other markets in most of the district headquarters were abuzz with activity last evening in view of the 12-hour relaxation in the strike from 6 PM.

A heavy rush of shoppers was witnessed in Lal Chowk leading to traffic jams at many places around the city centre.

Eid Shutdown

The separatists, who have extended the shutdown programme till September 16, have announced periodic relaxation in the strike on some days of the week.

They have called for a march to the local office of United Nations Military Obervers' Group on Eid day for submitting a memorandum to the 71st session of United Nations General Assembly.

Meanwhile, shops, business establishments and petrol pumps continued to remain shut during the daytime.Schools, colleges and other educational institutions also continued to remain closed.

However, the attendance in government offices and banks has improved as lot, the official said.

Public transport continued to be off the roads, while there was increased movement of cars and auto-rickshaws especially in the civil lines areas of the city, he said.

(With PTI inputs)

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