In an unprecedented move, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah skipped the Unified Headquarters Meet that was chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On Thursday, Omar stated that he is not a part of security meeting being held during Prime Minister Modi’s JK visit and that he has no scheduled meeting with the PM in the state.
“I have no idea, because I am not a part of that meeting. I have no scheduled meeting with the PM during this visit. I met him in Delhi a few weeks ago and discussed issues regarding the State then,” said Omar during an interview with a New Delhi based newspaper. He also said, “We are encouraging Kashmiri Pandits to return. Why should we have a problem with a group housing project that blends in with the community in the place you choose to live in?”
But political leaders reacted on Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s move and said that it was his prerogative to attend or skip the security review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Earlier in the day on Friday, Omar while addressing a gathering on the occasion of inauguration of Katra Railway Station by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, he said that rail in Kashmir was a dream and referred the significant contribution made by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Dr Manmohan Singh in realizing this cherished desire of the people. He said that economic linkage in Jammu and Kashmir and with the rest of Country is largely dependent on railway. He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for inaugurating the railway track from Udhampur to Katra and expressed the hope that the demand of the State for the extension of railway link to various areas would be accommodated for the larger economic and developmental interests of the State.
A day before Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi was set to arrive in Jammu to inaugurate the Udhampur-Katra railway link, Indian army claimed that it foiled two to three infiltration attempts by the militants across the Line of Control in Poonch district.
The latest encounter took place near Roshni post in Krishna Ghati (KG) sector during wee hours of Thursday when Army troops challenged a group of 8-10 infiltrators who were trying to sneak into the Indian territory from the side of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). However, there was no report of any casualty or damage on the Indian side.
Defence ministry spokesperson Lt Colonel Maneesh Mehta said the encounter continued till 10 am Thursday. “We have no report of any casualty or damage on our side during the encounter,” he said. After carrying out searches, the Army ruled out the possibility of any militant infiltrating into the Indian Territory.
According to Army, Thursday’s infiltration attempt was second such act by infiltrators since Wednesday. “They had earlier made a failed bid to sneak into the country in the same sector early Wednesday,” an army official said.
On Wednesday night, Troops of 5 Grenadiers and 6 Rajput Regiment also foiled two intrusion bids in Balakote sector.
In Baloni-Sagra sub-sector, where the first intrusion attempt was made, additional reinforcements of troops from 37 and 39 Rashtriya Rifles, the Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the Poonch border police were rushed to the site.
Senior Army officers also flew off to the encounter site in Poonch. Later, a search operation was launched in the area to flush out the militants which was called off in the afternoon.
According to the intelligence sources, Army has inputs about the presence of three groups of 30 militants opposite Bufliaz, Balakote and Krishna Ghati sectors across the LoC which might try to infiltrate during Modi’s visit.
Being one of the busiest offices and having settled 6000 cases in last few years, J&K’s civil liberty watchdog State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has technically ceased to exist from last week as its last two members completed their term and retired.
The Law says that the commission should have four members and a retired judge as its chairman but now, an official said, “The Commission is defunct.”
Lawyers Rafiq Fida and Amlok Singh who were last of the two members of the Commission completed their three years term on June 28, 2011. As the Commission is apparently dumb, at the most, it can only receive compliant but nobody can hear it or pass a direction.
Interestingly, the authorities could not avail so much of time in finding replacements. Now when the SHRC is fully defunct, authorities have started hunting for the new heads. The phenomenal lethargy exhibited in not finding members will have political costs. The issue of human rights has emerged as central to the post-militancy discourse and is the main game changer. The emergence of Mufti Sayeed led PDP in 2002 and more recently in Lok Sabha polls is being attributed to his regime’s sensitivity towards the issue of human rights.
On his maiden visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi arrived in the state on Friday morning and flagged of Udhampur-Katra Railway Line. He also inaugurated the 240-MW Uri-II Hydroelectric Project in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Since Thursday, extraordinary security measures, security checks with random frisking of vehicles and civilians, were witnessed across Srinagar city ahead of Modi’s visit causing massive traffic jams on the main roads leading to city centre. Meanwhile on the call of Hurriyat Conference, a complete shutdown was observed on Friday across the valley on Modi’s first visit to J&K.
Apparently a signal of forwarding his development agenda Modi was received by Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at Jammu airport, from where he straight away flew to Katra to inaugurate the 25-kilometer Udhampur-Katra rail link – part of the mega project to connect Kashmir with the entire rail network across India. Accompanied by Union Railway Minister DV Sadananda Gowda and Minister in Prime Minsters Office, Jitendra Singh, Modi also addressed a rally in Katra where he talked about the need of separate development models for Himalayan states. “Our aim is to win hearts of people of J&K through development,” he said.
After inaugurating the rail link, Modi flew to Indian Army’s 15 Corps Headquarters at Badami Bagh cantonment where he chaired a security meet and addressed the army personnel. He also paid floral tributes at army’s war memorial.
He was hosted by Governor NN Vohra at Raj Bhavan in Srinagar for luncheon where an informal interaction took place between the two on different issues including the Kashmir situation, sources said.
In late afternoon Modi flew to Uri in North Kashmir to inaugurate Uri-II hydroelectric power project owned by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC).With a total generation capacity of 2000 MW, the project – second on river Jhelum in Uri town – is located downstream 480 Mega Watt Uri-I.
Before leaving for New Delhi, Modi also interacted with top NHPC officials at the inauguration site.