PC to present security report on J&K, terrorism

PC to present security report on J&K, terrorism

15 April 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: As internal security comes under a major review with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh chairing a conference of the Chief Ministers’ in New Delhi tomorrow, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, who had recently undertaken a detailed review of the situation here on April 10 will be briefing the meeting about security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir while Chief Minister Omar Abdullah will give his separate presentation on the situation. Official sources said Mr Chidambaram would brief the Chief Minister’s conference about his assessment of situation on Jammu and Kashmir, which he gathered from Governor NN Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, top brass of civil and police administration, Central Police Forces and Intelligence agencies during his one day meeting in winter capital of the State on April 10. Sources said the conference would deliberate on how India is being affected due to its troubled neighbourhood and its obvious consequences in the country like cross border terrorism, covert support to insurgents, arms smuggling, circulation of fake Indian currency, inflow of refugees and immigration. 'Active terror infrastructure in Pakistan, growing nexus between the Naxals and anti-India forces both within the country as well as abroad, better Intelligence sharing among security forces, Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS), border management, coastal security and other Centre-State issues will also figure prominently at the meeting', sources said. Sources told the Excelsior that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in his nearly 15 to 20 minutes presentation in the Chief Ministers’ conference on internal security would toe the line of most of the non-Congress Chief Ministers on setting up of National Centre for Terrorism Control (NCTC) and amendments in Border Security Force (BSF) Act. Though the Centre has called a separate conference of CMs on NCTC on May 5, the CMs were free to touch all subjects of internal security in tomorrow’s meeting including NCTC. Sources said Omar would strongly oppose a provision of NCTC that enable it to carry out suo moto operations in any State. The Chief Minister wouldn’t oppose other major provisions of NCTC including Intelligence gathering and Intelligence analysis of the State by the Central agencies. The non-Congress Chief Ministers including some of the UPA-II allies including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee were opposing NCTC provisions in entirety. Many other Chief Ministers have also voiced concern over NCTC. Sources said Omar Abdullah wouldn’t oppose NCTC in toto but voice his strong reservations over one of its provision that gave the NCTC powers to carry out suo moto operations in any State. He would apprise the conference of the Chief Ministers that this clause of the NCTC was not acceptable to Jammu and Kashmir at any cost. They pointed out that the Chief Minister would tell the conference that Jammu and Kashmir already has Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) under which all security agencies coordinate their efforts for conducting searches and sharing Intelligence inputs on militancy and other activities. Sources said Omar was likely to bat for partial withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from five districts-Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Srinagar and Badgam giving facts and figures and logic that no major incident has taken place in the five districts for past quite sometime. The Chief Minister would support three amendments in AFSPA Act proposed by the Union Home Ministry, which were pending discussion before Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). The amendments proposed by the MHA in AFSPA included making it mandatory for armed forces to take arrest warrants in advance before conducting searches for arrests of any person, taking away the power of the armed forces to open firing causing deaths and setting up of a Grievance Redressal Cell. Defence Ministry and Army have strong objections to first two amendments. Backed by strong facts and figures on reduction of militancy in entire State including five districts, the Chief Minister would call for withdrawal of AFSPA from there on the ground that it was no more required there. He would also stress for removal of more bunkers of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) from Srinagar City before onset of summer. The Chief Minister would apprise the conference that the State Government has taken a major initiative for withdrawal of cases against youth involved in summer unrest of 2010, which would give relief to nearly 5000 youth. Many other issues pertaining to internal security could be discussed in the meeting. Sources said Mr Chidambaram, who had paid a visit to Jammu, the winter capital of the State on April 10, was scheduled to present a report on security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and North East in the Chief Minister’s meeting. Security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir, which has witnessed relative peace in recent times, will be discussed intensively in the meeting, which would devise a strategy on hot to meet the challenge of maintaining peace for longer period in the sensitive State. Mr Chidambaram had held a high level security review meeting with top brass of J&K’s civil administration and police, senior officers of all para-military forces and Intelligence agencies operating in the State during his one day visit here on April 10. K Skandan, Joint Secretary (Kashmir) in Ministry of Home Affairs, Additional Director, Intelligence Bureau, Rajeev Kapoor and BN Ramesh, Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to Union Home Minister had also joined the meeting along with top brass of police and civil administration, Central Police Forces and Intelligence agencies. Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had given a detailed briefing to the Union Home Minister on the situation. The meeting had discussed measures to ensure a peaceful summer in Kashmir in 2012 like 2011 when the Valley and other parts of the State were abuzz with tourists and pilgrim tourism. It had discussed in detail the steps required to ensure that 2010 like situation didn’t erupt in Kashmir this summer when over 100 people were killed in incidents of firing etc. Sources said the Home Minister had gathered Intelligence and other inputs with top brass of police, para-military, Intelligence and other agencies on Jammu and Kashmir, which he would share in tomorrow’s meeting. Mr Chidambaram was reportedly satisfied with security scenario in the State, which had undergone improvement since 2010 summer. He could apprise the meeting that Jammu and Kashmir was far better placed now as compared to 2010 or previous years. According to sources, the Home Minister was expected to direct all States to vigorously pursue the cases of terror funding and go all out for the hawala operators, who were fast becoming a potential threat in the country for all form of terrorism. The Home Minister has already directed all agencies and Department including Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate, Central Police Forces, Intelligence, NIA and Jammu and Kashmir Police to block hawala channels through businessmen and banking transactions. The Home Minister had stressed that cross border terrorism remained an issue of concern as there was still presence of a number of militants across the border and infrastructure of terrorist outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen was also intact. However, he expressed satisfaction over zero infiltration on the IB and improved security scenario including graph of militancy, which had gone to an all time low in both Jammu and Kashmir regions during past couple of years. He stressed for keeping up the momentum against the militancy. PTI adds from New Delhi All non-Congress chief ministers, barring Mamata Banerjee, who had come together to oppose the Centre on the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and other issues, will be attending tomorrow’s CMs’ conference on internal security called by the Government. Strengthening of counter terror capabilities and intelligence apparatus, Maoist violence, police reforms and capacity building will be high on agenda at the meeting to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Central Government has already conceded the demand of several non-Congress chief ministers, including ally Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, to hold a special meeting of CMs to exclusively discuss on the controversial issue of NCTC on May 5 and so the matter is unlikely to figure prominently at the day-long meet. Sources in Kolkata today said Banerjee will not attend tomorrow’s chief ministers’ meeting and Finance Minister Amit Mitra will represent West Bengal Government. However, she will take part in the CMs’ meeting on NCTC. No reason has been assigned for the West Bengal Chief Minister’s decision. The conference will also be attended by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik, Bihar’s Nitish Kumar and their Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi who have been vocal in their opposition to the NCTC. The conference, originally scheduled for February 15, had to be postponed for two months due to the recent Assembly elections in five states and Budget Session of Parliament. A separate session on Maoist violence will be held later in the day and will be attended by Chief Ministers of nine Maoist violence affected states. Though the internal security situation has vastly improved during the last three years largely because of cooperation between the Centre and the state governments, Naxalism continues to remains a grave challenge which claimed nearly 600 lives in 2011, the sources said. The country’s top leadership will review the two-pronged approach of development and police action to contain the Maoist problem and the future strategy to deal with it. With communal violence becoming a major cause of concern for the government as 2,420 such incidents have reported from across the country in last three years where at least 427 people lost their lives, the issue is likely to be flagged by the Home Minister in the meeting since the sensitive matter needs urgent attention from all quarters.