Mehbooba meets HM; discusses CBMs, summer strategy

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Apr 11: Two days after her meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi and discussed with him security situation in Jammu and Kashmir including the borders and growing involvement of civilians during gun battles between security forces and militants especially the steps needed to check civilian killings.
After the meeting, Mehbooba straightway flew to Srinagar, the summer capital of the State, cancelling her all engagements in Jammu including two dinners, which were to be hosted by her separately for Editors and visiting Union Finance Secretary at her official residence tonight. The dinner for the Finance Secretary was hosted by Chief Secretary BB Vyas.
She reached Srinagar to monitor the situation in Kulgam district of South Kashmir, where four civilians and an Army soldier were killed while the militants managed to escape.
Sources told the Excelsior that Mehbooba Mufti is reported to have discussed the initiatives taken by Central Government’s Special Representative on Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma during his visits to different parts of Jammu and Kashmir since his appointment in October last year.
“More Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) that can be taken by the Centre and State Governments on Jammu and Kashmir including some based on recommendations of Dineshwar Sharma were reportedly discussed during the meeting,’’ sources said, adding that the Chief Minister wanted the Centre to take more steps to help restore peace in the Kashmir Valley, which was being shattered with the civilian killings.
Sources pointed out that during half an hour long meeting, the two leaders discussed ways and means to keep summer peaceful in the Kashmir Valley to facilitate smooth tourist season and annual pilgrimage to holy cave shrine of Shri Amarnath Ji. However, there was no official word on the discussions between the two leaders.
Mehbooba, according to sources, briefed the Home Minister on security situation prevailing in the State especially the Kashmir Valley and the borders with Pakistan, which were tense for the past quite some time now.
They also discussed how to ameliorate the misery of the civilian population, who often face firing from across the border, and the implementation of the Prime Minister’s Development Package, sources said, adding the Chief Minister sought release of more funds for the State under the PMDP for the works being executed in the State sector.