Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s second visit to Kashmir comes exactly a month after his first visit following protests and the death of civilians after Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani was killed in South Kashmir’s Bumdoora village.
On that occasion, he met delegations of various mainstream political parties and some private delegations and reviewed the security scenario in the Valley.
This visit was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a delegation of J&K’s opposition mainstream political parties led by former J&K chief minister and NC working president, Omar Abdullah had a detailed meeting with him in New Delhi on Monday.
In the last 47 days, there seems to have been no significant improvement in the situation on the ground in the Valley as most areas are still under curfew and a strict curfew is clamped across Kashmir after 5 pm when security forces don’t entertain even curfew passes.
The violence continues. On Wednesday, a 20-year old youth was killed in south Kashmir even as the Home Minister was on his way to the Nehru guest house to meet political delegations and senior officials of the state government.
J& K opposition leaders said the recent meeting with the Prime Minister was very “positive” and Modi tried to listen to the views of all the participants. However, the PM stopped short of giving any sort of concrete commitment to the opposition leaders who are still doubtful about how serious the Centre and the state government are about taking any initiatives to calm down the situation in the Valley.
Read | Rajnath Singh reviews security situation in Kashmir
On the other hand, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s statement that only five per cent people are involved in the current protests and that the protestors want to see an end to the PDP-BJP coalition government in the state have further alienated people and the leadership of the Opposition who think the chief minister is still not ready to accept the ground reality.
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With no letup in the protests, the army and paramilitary forces are feeling the heat now. Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh and General Officer Commanding Northern Command, Lt Gen D S Hooda have advocated talks with all the stakeholders including the separatists. However, so far the Centre has not sent any positive message to the people on the streets or to the separatist leadership; instead more forces have been dispatched to the Valley to quell the protests.
Now, it remains to be seen whether at the conclusion of this visit, Home Minister Singh will send out any positive message vis-a-vis holding talks with separatists or those who feel alienated. If not, like his previous visit, this one will have little impact on the ground.