Officials from the Jammu and Kashmir administration have conveyed to Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi that the situation in the Valley is not as bad as is being portrayed, and the media is “widely exaggerating” the current unrest.
Mehrishi met top civil and police officials of the state during his one-day visit to Kashmir on Thursday. Senior police officials from south Kashmir — where several incidents of violence were recorded — reportedly told him that there are nearly 50,000 schools in the state but students from only four to five schools participated in stone-pelting. The media portrayed it as a widespread phenomenon, a senior Union Home Ministry official quoted state officials as saying.
The MHA official, who was part of the central team, said such projection on national television was being misused by India’s neighbours to build a false narrative in the Valley at “little cost”.
Mehrishi visited Kashmir a day after Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, 23, was abducted by militants from his house in Shopian and murdered. Police later said that Hizbul militants were behind the murder.
During the review with the Home Secretary, the police also claimed that the number of youths joining militancy had not gone up. Among the locals who took up arms, 38 are under matriculate, 42 are matriculate, six are graduates, two post-graduates and two with technical training, according to statistics with Jammu and Kashmir Police.
The issue of cancellation of Anantnag bypolls also came up for discussion. The state government was of the view that the situation would have not deteriorated if the Election Commission (EC) had agreed to their suggestions of not holding the April 9 Srinagar bypolls.
Officials said that Mehrishi visited a CRPF camp in Avantipura, where some personnel had queries on the government’s “soft stand” on protesters. They referred to the revised standard operating procedure issued by the MHA on use of pellet guns as the second last resort against stone-pelters. Mehrishi is learnt to have conveyed to the troops that they would soon be provided better equipment and stone-proof gear. He also urged the CRPF men to continue showing restraint with protesters.
Mehrishi also reviewed preparedness for the upcoming Amarnath Yatra. The number of pilgrims registering for Amarnath Yatra has not shown any decline, the officials reportedly said. The MHA, sources said, has decided not to take any chances. A review meeting on Amarnath Yatra will be held with Mehrishi on May 22, they added.