As Home Minister Rajnath Singh briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the visit of an all-party delegation to Srinagar and Jammu, there were indications Tuesday that the government was likely to harden its stand against Kashmiri separatists.
Official sources said the government may consider scaling down security cover provided to the separatist leadership, stop facilitating their travel outside the country or grant other benefits such as accommodation in state guest houses or payment of medical expenses incurred by them. Measures could also include a scrutiny of their bank accounts and completion of any pending inquiry.
“Any final decision on this issue will be taken by the Home Minister after consulting other senior leaders. It is only natural if the government decides to curtail undue benefits being enjoyed by separatist leaders,” a government source said.
While the Prime Minister returned to New Delhi Monday night after his visit to Vietnam and China, Singh had returned to the Capital in the evening after leading the all-party delegation.
“Briefed the Prime Minister on all-party delegation’s visit to J&K and also apprised him of the situation in the state,” Singh tweeted after a meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence Tuesday.
A high-level meeting on the situation in Kashmir and the government’s future course of action was chaired by Singh at his residence in the evening, and was attended by BJP president Amit Shah, party general secretary Ram Madhav, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and MoS in the PMO Jitendra Singh.
The Home Minister will brief the members of the all-party delegation at Parliament House at 11 am Wednesday, and suggestions that can be worked on by the government will be culled out of the various memorandums submitted to the delegation during its visit to Jammu and Kashmir.
After rejecting Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s invitation for talks on the Kashmir issue, Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had refused to meet leaders of the all-party delegation. CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader D Raja, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and RJD’s Jay Prakash Narayan had broken away from the group and decided to reach out to separatists by meeting them separately.
They left the venue where the all-party delegation was meeting various groups and individuals and went to meet Geelani at his residence where he has been under house arrest. Geelani, however, refused to meet them. Addressing the media in Srinagar Monday, Singh had said, “If someone goes to talk and they (separatists) don’t talk, then they clearly don’t believe in Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat.”