Union Home Minister P Chidambaram Sunday visited volatile Baramulla town in north Kashmir to review the security situation.
Chidambaram chaired a security meeting of police,CRPF and army officials and held separate meetings with local politicians,students,traders,members of Pahari Cultural Forum and the Gurduwara Prabandhak Committee.
Chidambarams meetings in Baramulla,however,have not gone done well with the National Conference. The party sees it as an effort by the Centre to micro-manage governance in Kashmir. It showed its displeasure by sending alow-level delegation,led by a small-time worker - the Congress delegation was led by its vice president to meet the home minister. Though National Conference leaders refused to come on record,their sense of bitterness was evident.
This is not the first time,the National Conference has been ruffled. In his speech in the Assembly early this month,Chief Minister Omar Abdullah criticised Union Home Secretary,G K Pillai for announcing curfew in Srinagar without consulting the state government.
In the security meeting,Chidambaram was briefed by the Deputy Commissioners of three north Kashmir districts Baramulla,Kupwara and Bandipore about the security situation,especially stone-pelting incidents and measures taken by the police and the CRPF to check it.
The Congress delegation sought rehabilitation of the people wounded and disabled in police and CRPF firing and a package for the boys who have crossed over to Pakistan occupied Kashmir in the past two decades and want to return,said party vice president Ghulam Nabi Monga,who led the delegation.
Apple growers demanded that army be made to vacate their orchards. 16,000 kanal (about 4,000 acre) of orchard land is under the armys occupation. We urged the home minister to get our land vacated from the army, said Fruit Growers Association president Mohammad Yousuf Dar.
Family members of some of the boys jailed for stone-pelting were not allowed to meet the home minister.
My two sons were arrested after police failed to arrest my husband,who had association with the Hurriyat. I had come here to meet the minister and seek his help but I was not allowed to go inside said Aasiya Begum,who had come from Sopore,about 15 km away.