Unified Hqrs Review Security Scenario, BJP's Ekta Yatra Plan16 January 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: The Unified Headquarters today held a high level review of security scenario in the State especially with reference to Army's opposition to troop cut and partial withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). The meeting that lasted more than three hours also discussed the BJP's decision to hoist tricolor at Lal Chowk on January 26, security for Republic Day celebrations and Pakistan's repeated attempts to push infiltrators from the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) across the State. Significantly before the meeting, which was attended by entire top brass of civil, Army, police, BSF, CRPF, IB and other security agencies, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had a one-to-one meeting for about 30 minutes with Northern Command chief Lt Gen K T Parnaik, who had taken over as GOC-in-C of the Command only on January 1 and had yesterday opposed the troop cut as well as withdrawal of AFSPA in J&K. Meanwhile, the Government has given nod to a proposal of Police Department to form 'Friends of People’, committees in trouble prone towns of the Kashmir valley in which the youth would act as a bridge between police, security agencies and people and bring to their notice any rights violation committed by any agency or the mischief of youth, instigating the others to hold protests. The specially designated youth will form ‘Friends of People’ and they will help in tackling any kind of summer unrest this year, official sources said, adding the youth, who would be part of the Committees will be known to all SHOs and other concerned officials. They will keep the cops informed about any attempt to create trouble in their towns by the miscreants or any rights violation committed by any security agency. The committees will be formed well ahead of the summer and will be a part of one among several measures to tackle last year like unrest in the Kashmir valley, official sources told the Excelsior, adding that the proposal was discussed in the meeting. After chairing the meeting of the Unified Headquarters that began at 11 am and concluded at 2.20 pm, Mr Abdullah left for New Delhi. The meeting, chaired by the Chief Minister at his official residence here, was attended among others by Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lt. Gen K T Parnaik, Chief Secretary S S Kapur, DGP Kuldeep Khoda, Home Secretary B R Sharma, GOC 16 Corps (Nagrota) Lt Gen J P Nehra, GOC 15 Corps Lt Gen S A Hasnain, GOC 9 Corps (Yol Cantonment) Lt Gen A K Chowdhary, Special DG CRPF Anirudh Uppal, ADG Armed and Law and Order, K Rajendera, IGP Jammu Dilbagh Singh, IGP Kashmir S M Sahai, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Pawan Kotwal, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir Asgar Samoon, IG BSF Siddarth Chattopadhyaya, IG CRPF, Dinesh Kumar IG CID Dr B Srinivas and Joint Director, Intelligence Bureau S K Sinha. Sources said before the Unified Headquarters meeting, Mr Abdullah was closeted with GOC-in-C Lt Gen K T Parnaik for about 30 minutes. This was their first one-to-one meeting as Lt Gen Parnaik had taken over the charge of Northern Command only on January 1 after the retirement of Lt Gen B S Jaiswal. The meeting assumed significance as only yesterday, Lt Gen Parnaik had said in a press conference at Akhnoor that time was not ripe for troop cut in the State and AFSPA was also required. His remarks were in response to Union Home Secretary G K Pillai's statement made a day before that the Central Government was considering 25 per cent troop cut in J&K. The Chief Minister had immediately welcomed Pillai’s statement. He was also pushing for at least partial withdrawal of the AFSPA with the Union Home Ministry. Sources said the meeting reviewed security scenario in the State especially in the Kashmir valley and measures taken by various security agencies for peaceful celebrations of Republic Day in the wake of threats from the militant outfits. The BJYM's ‘Ekta Yatra’ from Kolkata to Srinagar, which the party proposed to culminate at Lal Chowk in Srinagar by hoisting tricolor on January 26, and a counter call by JKLF chief Yasin Malik for ‘Lal Chowk Chalo’ on the same day also came up for a review in the meeting. Sources said the Government would take a decision on whether to stop the yatra at Kathua or let it go to Lal Chowk after the Chief Minister meets senior leaders at the Centre in next few days. The Government didn't expect any other State to stop the yatra especially when the BJP and their allies rule the neighbouring States of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. Some of the Intelligence agencies were of the view that the yatra should be stopped before entering the temple City. However, the Unified Headquarters only discussed pros and cons of the yatra in both events-stopping it or letting it go to Lal Chowk. Sources said the situation arising in the event of a proposed 25 per cent troops cut and partial withdrawal of AFSPA also figured prominently in the meeting. Sources said the stand of Army and some other security agencies was very clear on both the issues, which they have made known repeatedly in their press conference and other meetings. Army Generals had been openly opposing troop cut as well as withdrawal of the AFSPA while the State Government stands for both. Situation in the event of troop cut and AFSPA withdrawal from some parts was also discussed in the meeting. Security situation on the LoC and IB also came in for a detailed review at the meeting following stepped-up infiltration attempts by the militants though majority of them have been foiled. The security agencies were of the view that intrusion bids would escalate in the coming days but they were fully prepared to tackle the situation especially on the eve of Republic Day celebrations to ensure that functions all across the State passed off peacefully. Sources said the Government wanted to be prepared well in advance for any kind of summer unrest in the Valley this year. The steps required to ensure that there was no unrest were discussed in the meeting.