Top-level Meeting Called, IB Counterterror Chief in Valley

Top-level Meeting Called, IB Counterterror Chief in Valley

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir this month, the security grid held a crucial meeting on Monday. The Intelligence Bureau’s counterterror operations head Tapan Deka reached Srinagar to personally take stock of the situation in the Valley. While the IB special director has been frequenting Kashmir, the current visit assumes significance as it comes against the backdrop of a string of terror attacks on civilians.

A top-level meeting of the security grid has been called to discuss counterterror steps to ensure no untoward incident ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit. PM Modi is expected to be in Palli village of Samba district to commemorate Panchayati Raj Day on April 24. While the Prime Minister’s visit might be restricted to the Jammu region, the security grid wants to rule out any terror incident in the Valley in the run-up to or during the visit that might embarrass the government.

A Pandit shopkeeper was wounded by terrorists on April 3, another civilian was shot dead in Budgam in March, and a non-local vendor was injured in Pulwama. On March 6, a civilian died and 24 were injured in a grenade attack in Srinagar.

Last year around union home minister Amit Shah’s visit to Srinagar, civilians including a Pandit chemist and a Sikh school principal were gunned down by terrorists leading to a clampdown by security agencies in Srinagar and the rest of the Valley.

This will be PM Modi’s first visit to Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 sections in 2019 and the state being turned into two union territories of J&K and Ladakh.

News18 has learnt that top officials of agencies like Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Jammu and Kashmir police are all part of the security review meeting happening ahead of the PM’s visit.

The PM could also meet representatives of the terror-wracked Kashmiri Pandit community during the trip.

His visit comes amid speculation of elections in Jammu and Kashmir soon after the delimitation commission submits its report this year.

Udhampur MP and union minister of state (MoS) in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh also visited Samba on Monday to take stock of the arrangements before the PM’s visit. Dr Singh later said that the Prime Minister’s choice of Palli is proof of the importance he gives to Jammu and Kashmir.

“The choice of Palli Panchayat as the venue of the national-level Panchayati Raj Diwas indicates the high priority given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Jammu and Kashmir and the Modi government’s focus to strengthen Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in the Union Territory,” he said and added that Prime Minister Modi will be undertaking this visit for the first time after the first-ever election to the District Development Councils held in J&K 70 years after Independence.

The government wants to showcase its commitment to rural uplifting through the celebration of Panchayati Raj Diwas and keeping Jammu and Kashmir at the centre of it, he said.

“The union ministry of science and technology will endeavour to showcase during the Panchayati Raj Diwas some of the latest scientific innovations, which are applicable for rural development and upgraded agricultural farming but are somehow not being adequately used in this part of the country. There will be an attempt to exhibit drone technology in agricultural farming, Aroma Mission and Purple Revolution Floriculture mission, modern uses of bamboo, wastewater management, etc,” said Dr Singh, who is also the MoS (independent charge) for science and technology, and earth sciences.

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