UHQ reviews security scenario, anti-militancy ops, gradual lifting of communication curbs

LG, MHA Advisor, Army Comdrs, top brass debate host of issues

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Jan 16: Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu today held high-level review of security situation in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir at the Unified Headquarters meeting attended by top brass of Army, para-military forces, civil administration, Intelligence agencies and Jammu and Kashmir Police among others at Jammu Convention Centre in which stepping-up anti-militancy operations, impact of gradual relaxation in communication restrictions, situation along the borders and various other security-related issues figured.
K Vijay Kumar, Advisor in Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Incharge Jammu and Kashmir and North East and Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor, Incharge most of the affairs in Home Department attended the meeting which was also joined by Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, Principal Secretary to LG Bipul Pathak, top Army officials including Northern Command chief Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, GOC Nagrota Corps Lt Gen Harsha Gupta, GOC Tiger Division Major General Sharad Kapoor, Director General of CRPF Dr AP Maheshwari, DGP Dilbag Singh, Special DG CRPF Zulfqar Hassan, Divisional Commissioner Jammu Sanjeev Verma, IGP Jammu Mukesh Singh, IG BSF NS Jamwal, IG CRPF and senior officials of various Intelligence agencies.
This was the first meeting of Unified Headquarters after takeover of K Vijay Kumar as Advisor Incharge J&K in the Ministry of Home Affairs and appointments of Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar, who had retired as DG CRPF on December 31 as Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor having charge of most of the affairs of Home Department, and Dr AP Maheshwari, who had taken over as new DG CRPF from Bhatnagar and was on his first visit to the Union Territory today. Dr Maheshwari later had a seaprate meeting with Murmu.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the meeting held at Jammu Convention Centre discussed in detail the internal security situation in Jammu and Kashmir including presence of militants in the hinterland, need to step-up anti-militancy operations in the Valley and frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the Line of Control (LoC) as well as International Border (IB) which were aimed at giving cover to the militants to infiltrate into the Indian territory.
While there was no official word on the Unified Headquarters meeting by the Union Territory Government, sources said the security situation was on top of the agenda and there was unanimous view that following near normal conditions prevailing in the Valley, the operations against militants, which have taken a hit since August 5 following abrogation of special Constitutional provisions of J&K and its bifurcation into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh as the focus of security agencies shifted to maintenance of law and order, should be intensified as there have been reports that militants were trying to strengthen their positions during winter to intensify their activities in summer.
The Government has decided to construct more bunkers in Uri forward area of Baramulla district along the Line of Control (LoC) on the lines of Poonch, Rajouri, Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts of Jammu region in view of frequent shelling by Pakistan army there targeting civilian areas.
Top Army Commanders presented their view point on the situation in hinterland especially with regard to presence of militants in the Valley and couple of districts in Jammu region and prevailing scenario on the borders with Pakistan where ceasefire violations by the Pakistani troops have become a regular affair, leading to enormous sufferings to the people living in forward areas.
Top security officials were reportedly of the view that majority of infiltration attempts by the militants, aided and abetted by Pakistan, have been foiled on the LoC as well as International Border by the alert troops of Army and BSF but there were reports that some intrusion bids might have succeeded during adverse weather conditions. Post August 5 Central decisions, tension has escalated between Indo-Pak troops on the LoC.
According to sources, the Unified Headquarters discussed the impact of partial lifting of restrictions on communication channels in the Kashmir Valley and more relaxation in the curbs in the upcoming days. It was reportedly decided that the Intelligence agencies will keep strict vigil to ensure that partial withdrawal of restrictions on communication channels in the Valley aren’t exploited by the inimical elements.
According to sources, frequent closure of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway which could also lead to security related problems apart from causing inconvenience to the general public in both the divisions of Jammu and Kashmir, was also discussed by the top brass.
“A host of other security related issues also figured at the Unified Headquarters meeting which lasted about three hours,”’ sources said.