Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday addressed Jammu and Kashmir Police and the CRPF and announced a few measures for them, on the second day of his four-day visit to the state, and also met a delegation of opposition National Conference, led by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
As the Union Minister visited Anantnag for his meetings, an overnight gunfight between security forces and militants in Shopian district left two militants dead, while one surrendered.
The Union Minister, who met 24 delegations on the first day of his visit on Saturday, including boatmen and artisans, has said he is visiting Jammu and Kashmir with an open mind and was willing to meet with anyone who could help in finding solutions to the Kashmir issue. He leaves for Jammu on Monday.
Singh’s visit comes as former Prime Minister and senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh arrived in Jammu, heading the party’s policy planning group on Jammu and Kashmir, in an effort to bring peace in the state.
Earlier in the day, the Home Minister addressed a ‘Darbar’ (gathering) of local policemen at the district police lines in Anantnag district, and later a Sainik Sammelan at the Khanabal headquarters of the 90th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force.
He said his ministry has allotted funds for opening of a trauma centre and purchase of bullet proof vehicles for personnel of J&K Police.
Praising the police, Singh said: “You are discharging your duties under extremely difficult conditions and even the Prime Minister has appreciated your services and bravery.
“There are militants who only want militancy while they claim to be fighting for making Kashmir a ‘Jannat’ (Heaven).
“But it is the local policemen and CRPF jawans who actually want to make Kashmir a real heaven”, Singh said.
“J&K Police men are giving sacrifice for Kashmir, for the country and for Kashmiris, but it is unfortunate that people are not ready to understand it.”
The Home Minister said it was only the local police that can help normalize the situation in Kashmir.
While meeting the CRPF, Singh said his aim is to provide Rs one crore as monetary relief to the families of personnel of central armed forces killed on duty.
“It is my aim that at least Rs one crore should be given as monetary relief to families of martyrs of our central armed forces personnel.
“We are also considering helicopters services to CRPF in J&K,” he added.
Praising the valour of CRPF personnel doing counter insurgency duties in the country, the Home Minister said: “We are proud of our CRPF personnel. Courage cannot be purchased from any market. You are born with unassailable and unmatched courage”.
Later, a delegation of National Conference met Rajnath Singh here asked him to translate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words of embracing Kashmiris with love into reality.
Talking to media after the meeting, Abdullah said: “We have discussed various issues including the basic political problem in J&K with the Union Home Minister. We also brought up governance issues with the Home Minister during our meet ing today.
“The words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his Red Fort speech, have touched the hearts of Kashmiris. It is high time these words are translated into reality.”
A statement issued by NC said: “While highlighting the political, historical and the constitutional context of the state’s special status, Omar Abdullah registered the party’s concern and disappointment over the Central government’s ambiguity in defending state’s special status with respect to Article 35A (of the Constitution) in the Supreme Court.”
A delegation of the People’s Democratic Front led by legislator Hakim Yaseen also called on Rajnath Singh
Meanwhile, BJP state General Secretary Ashok Koul told reporters in Jammu that by meeting people from across the political and social spectrum with an open mind, the Home Minister would find solutions to peoples’ problems in the state.
In Shopian, security forces gunned down two terrorists – identified as Altaf Ahmad Rather and Tariq Ahmad Bhat – while the third one identified as Adil Hussain Dar surrendered.