Top MHA officials brief MPs of all parties on J&K situation

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, July 23: Top officials of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) briefed Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Home Affairs on internal security situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir including progress of Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrimage in South Kashmir Himalayas and steps taken by the Centre and State Governments to keep militancy and unrest under check.
Sources told the Excelsior that outgoing Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and his successor Rajiv Gauba briefed the PSC comprising 31 Members of Parliament (MPs) of all political parties on the situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir including the hinterland as well as the frontiers with two hostile neighbours-Pakistan and China.
The PSC is headed by former Union Home Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram and comprised veteran Parliamentarians like Sitaram Yechury, Malikarjun Khadge, Ashwani Kumar, Satya Pal Singh, Derek O’Brien and Kirron Kher among others.
Sources said after two rounds of inter-actions, the PSC has sought another briefing from the Home Ministry officials on July 27.
Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi will be demitting office on July 31 and will be replaced by Rajiv Gauba. Sources said both these officers along with other top brass of the MHA would brief the PSC again in the Parliament Hall.
According to sources, the MHA officials have detailed view of security situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir especially the internal security situation, increased incidents of militancy as well as killing of a number of top militants and steps taken by the Centre to keep situation well under control in the Valley.
Apart from security situation in the hinterland as well as Kashmir valley, sources pointed out that the MHA officials gave special briefing to the MPs drawn from both Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha on the progress of Shri Amarnath ji pilgrimage in South Kashmir Himalayas, where about 2.4 lakh pilgrims have performed darshan of natural Ice Lingam of Lord Shiva so far.
They told the PSC members that the yatra has already surpassed the figure of last year and there was no lack of enthusiasm among the pilgrims, who continued to throng the base camps of Nunwan, Pahalgam and Baltal for undertaking yatra.
According to sources, the Home Ministry officials gave a comprehensive view of security arrangements made for Shri Amarnath ji pilgrims this year, which had started on June 29 and will continue till August 7 including the unfortunate incident of July 11 in which the militants had targeted an Amarnath yatri bus, killing eight pilgrims and injuring scores of others.
“Post-attack security arrangements were also narrated,” sources said, adding that the Ministry of Home Affairs has deployed nearly 21,000 additional para-military personnel for safety and security of the pilgrims.
“Series of measures taken by the Centre and State Governments to control unrest in the Kashmir valley have been bearing results,” the MHA officials were reported to have told the PSC members citing data of reduction in the incidents of unrests in the Valley including South Kashmir this summer as compared to last year.
The briefing by top Home Ministry officials to the Parliamentary Standing Committee having 31 MPs of almost all major political parties came close on the heels of two special briefings given by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to the MPs of all political parties for two consecutive days on July 14 and 15 on Jammu and Kashmir situation as well as standoff between India and China at Dokalam in Sikkim.
The Home Ministry also gave briefing to the MPs on heavy shelling along the frontiers with China and situation along Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in Ladakh sector, sources said, adding that the MHA top brass replied to the queries of the MPs on several other subjects apart from Jammu and Kashmir.
The Home Ministry would again brief the PSC on July 27, sources disclosed.


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