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Amit Shah takes stock of J&K security, seeks more protection for minorities

Expressing concern over the “targeted killing” of civilians in the Valley, Shah sought “strategically planned protection of minorities” and “flexible patrolling of guards”, according to sources who did not want to be named.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar |
Updated: October 24, 2021 7:38:19 am
Union Home Minister Amit Shah at the residence of J&K Police officer Parvez Ahmed who was killed last month, in Nowgam on Saturday. (Photo: PTI)

IN HIS first visit to Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of special status on August 5, 2019, Union Home Minister Amit Shah Saturday reviewed the security situation at a Unified Command meeting attended by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, top brass of J-K Police, Army, paramilitary forces, and the intelligence agencies.

Expressing concern over the “targeted killing” of civilians in the Valley, Shah sought “strategically planned protection of minorities” and “flexible patrolling of guards”, according to sources who did not want to be named. He also called for better coordination between the security agencies to address the recruitment of local youth to the militant ranks.

The sources said the Union Home Minister was briefed about the current security situation that has unfolded in the Valley with 11 civilians being killed in the last one month. Shah also sought to understand the delay in tracing militants involved in the Poonch encounter which claimed the lives of nine soldiers. The encounter entered its 13th day on Saturday with the joint team of forces mounting a massive combing operation in the forests of Mendhar.

The security review meeting chaired by the Union Home Minister lasted almost two-and-a-half hours, the sources said.

The Srinagar city witnessed unprecedented security as Shah arrived in Srinagar on Saturday morning and was received by J-K’s Lt Governor Manoj Sinha. The establishment has put in place a three-tier security setup in place, detained hundreds, arrested several under Public Safety Act over the last ten days and seized two-wheelers in the last two days.

No sooner than he arrived in Srinagar, the Union Home Minister drove to the residence of slain police officer Parvez Ahmad at Nowgam in the outskirts of Srinagar city. Ahmad, an Inspector with J-K Police’s intelligence wing, was shot dead by militants in June this year. Shah offered a government job to his wife.

In the evening, Shah interacted at Raj Bhawan with the families of civilians, politicians and policemen killed by militants. Those included the family of prominent Kashmiri Pandit chemist M L Bindroo, who was shot dead by militants in Srinagar on October 5 and the family of Sikh principal Supinder Kour, who was shot dead by militants on October 7 in Srinagar. He also met families of policemen Qazi Sagheer – killed in a gunfight with militants last year – and Arshid Ahmad. The Union Home Minister also met the family of Mohammad Shafi, a civilian killed by militants on October 2 at Batamaloo Srinagar, family of BJP councilor Reyaz Ahmad Peer who was killed in militant attack earlier this.

Shah also flagged off the Srinagar-Sharjah direct flight. While the first direct international flight from Srinagar airport was inaugurated in February 2009 to Dubai, the weekly flight operation was later suspended.

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