Rajnath in Kashmir, meets cross-section of people amid militant attack (Roundup)

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Srinagar, Sep 9 (IANS) Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday began a four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir and reviewed the security situation during a meeting with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti even as militants attacked a police party in Anantnag, killing one and injuring two others.

The arrival of the Home Minister, who tweeted that he was visiting the state with an open mind and was ready to meet with everyone who could help in the solution of the problems in Kashmir, also came as senior separatist leaders were placed under house arrest and JKLF chief Yasin Malik was arrested ahead of their proposed protest at the NIA headquarters in Delhi.

In the morning, terrorists fired at security forces conducting search operations in a village in Baramulla district. In the ensuing gunfight, one militant was killed. Pakistani forces also resorted to unprovoked, indiscriminate firing on the LoC in Poonch district, injuring a civilian and a BSF trooper.

As Singh was in the midst of holding official talks and meeting various delegations, militants in an audacious strike in Anantnag district attacked a police patrol on a routine check in the town, killing one policeman and injuring two others. Singh is to visit Anantnag on Sunday and address policemen and CRPF troopers in Khanabal area of the same district. A gunfight also began in a village of Shopian district in the evening.

After his official meetings were over, Singh met 24 delegations, including local boatmen, hoteliers, artisans and youth among others.

Earlier in the day, Singh held a meeting with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti immediately after he arrived here with a team of union Home Ministry officials, including Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba.

“Overall security situation was reviewed at the Union Home Minister’s meeting with the Chief Minister,” official sources said here.

During his visit, Singh is to also co-chair with Mehbooba Mufti, a meeting of the Unified Headquarters which is the topmost anti-militancy grid in the state.

Senior officers of state police, army, paramilitary forces and state and central intelligence agencies are part of the Unified Headquarters.

The Union Home Minister held a review of the implementation of Prime Minister’s Development Package along with Mehbooba Mufti at a high level meeting of officers. Both leaders took a detailed review of the projects taken up under the Rs 80,000 crore PMDP in the State.

An official statement said Singh impressed upon the officers of the state and central government to work in a coordinated manner for the timely implementation of the projects under PMDP.

He said the PMDP which envisages a developmental and infrastructural revolution in the state is the biggest financial package for Jammu and Kashmir so far.

He asked the officers to complete the projects within the deadline scheduled so that people get the benefit of these projects at the earliest. He also suggested taking the benefits of the projects to the masses so that with their involvement in execution, the completion results are achieved at the earliest.

In her intervention, Mehbooba Mufti sought regular and in-time release of funds to the state for executing the projects. She said that given the limited working season and harsh winters in the state, the releases have to be fast-paced and furthered.

The meeting was informed that 63 projects have been taken up under PMDP by 15 Union Ministries through 39 executing agencies. Of them around 80 per cent projects stand formally sanctioned, the meeting was told. Of the total outlay, Rs 21,988 crore has been released under the package and five projects have already been completed, while seven projects are likely to be completed soon.

Among the projects in progress, are 22 major road projects which include some big ticket works like semi ring road projects for Srinagar and Jammu, Kargil-Zanaskar road, Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal stretches of National Highway which are in various stages of completion, the meeting was told.

Later, Songh met a youth delegation comprising entrepreneurs and local artistes. He is slated to meet some other local delegations, including civil society members, and local artisans.

He also met a Pandit delegation, and a Shia delegation, among others.

–IANS

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