Ensure civilians aren’t harassed, hold counseling of youth: CM

Ensure safety of tourists, yatris

Sanjeev Pargal

page1JAMMU, May 12: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today called upon the security agencies to ensure that the people don’t suffer during holy month of Ramadhan, tourist season and annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji while top brass of security agencies called for counseling of youth by civil and police administration to ensure that they don’t turn up at the encounter sites, which often leads to civilian casualties.
Official sources told the Excelsior that though there was no direct mention of ceasefire in the Unified Headquarters meeting, Mehbooba called upon all security agencies, operating in Jammu and Kashmir, to see to it that the people are not subjected to any kind of harassment during the month of Ramadhan and that tourists are given safe and secure environment all across the State.

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The Chief Minister called for calibrated response to various situations during the coming month of Ramadhan, tourist season and Amarnath Yatra,” sources said, adding she stressed upon security agencies to provide secure environment and hassle free movement during the holy month.
Only few days back, Mehbooba had called upon the Centre to consider 2000 Ramadhan like ceasefire in the Kashmir Valley this month. However, the ceasefire demand was opposed by the BJP. The Centre has not offered any significant reaction so far to the ceasefire demand excepting Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who stated that he would speak to the Chief Minister on the issue.
Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta, top brass of Army, CRPF, BSF, Jammu and Kashmir Police, civil administration, Intelligence agencies among other attended the Unified Headquarters meeting and gave their assessment of the situation, both on the frontiers with Pakistan and hinterland in the Kashmir valley.
According to sources, top brass of security agencies reportedly voiced concern over increased presence of civilians at the site of encounters for facilitating escape of the militants by subjecting security personnel to stone pelting. They suggested that civil administration, police and other concerned citizens should hold counseling of the youth and make them aware that they were risking their lives by reaching the sites of gun battles.
“The youths must be counseled and told to stay away from the encounter sites. This will automatically avert the civilian casualties and also lead to successful operations,” the top brass reportedly pointed out. They attributed the recent civilian killings to large presence of people at the encounter sites prompting cops to open firing to disperse them as a last option, otherwise, all top militants would have escaped.
Sources said the Chief Minister stressed upon the security and intelligence agencies to synchronize their efforts and actions on the ground, while dealing with the challenging situations, through strict adherence to prescribed Standard Operating Procedures. She also advised the security agencies to ensure safety and security of general public and their properties, while dealing with security and law & order related incidents.
Sources said Mehbooba also called for engaging meaningfully with the people, particularly the youth, so that they are able to gainfully contribute to the society and are deviated from the path of violence including incidents of stone pelting. She stressed for humane approach in dealing with the situation to ensure that innocent civilians don’t suffer.
Mehbooba called for coordination among various security agencies operating in the State.
Sources said the Unified Headquarters discussed the roadmap for summer including holy month of Ramadhan followed by Eid festivities, tourist season, which has just begin and 60-day long annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji shrine, which would start on June 28 and continue till August 26.
“The Chief Minister was of the view that it was responsibility of the security agencies to ensure peace during the summer so that tourists visit the spots without any hesitations and the yatra is also conducted peacefully,” sources said, adding that security officers assured Mehbooba that all possible steps were being taken to ensure that tourists and pilgrims are not harmed.
Security agencies, according to sources, gave their assessment of the situation in the Kashmir valley, both in the hinterland as well as Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) with Pakistan. Concerns were also raised by some of the security agencies over joining of militants cadre by the local youths and steps required to bring them back to mainstream.
Sources said various other issues of security were discussed threadbare at the meeting, which was also attended by Chief Secretary, B B Vyas; GOC in C, Northern Command, Lt Gen Devraj Anbu; Principal Secretary, Home, R. K. Goyal; GOC of 9th Corps, Lt. Gen. Y V K Menon; GOC of 14th Corps, Lt Gen S K Upadhaya; GOC of 15th Corps, Lt Gen AK Bhat; GOC of 16th  Corps, Lt Gen Saranjeet Singh; Director General of Police, Dr S P Vaid; Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Rohit Kansal; ADGP, CID, A G Mir; Special. DG, CRPF; Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan; Inspectors General of JK Police, BSF and CRPF, Jammu & Kashmir Frontiers and other senior officers.