Separatists Provoke Locals In Kashmir

11 September 2014
Deccan Chronicle


New Delhi: Specific reports from the security forces now reaching the Centre indicate that some separatist elements in the Kashmir Valley were provoking people, sparking violent protests in parts of the flood-affected region. Sources said that keeping in view the safety of security personnel and their equipment, rescue operations through helicopters had been significantly scaled down. The security forces, sources added, were specifically told to take precautionary measures to ensure the situation doesn't get out of control. 'The ground situation in the Valley is extremely volatile, and tempers are running high. There are reports that some mischievous elements are trying to take advantage, so the security forces have been asked to be extremely careful,' a top official said. Union home secretary Anil Goswami rushed to the Valley to supervise relief and rescue work following a directive from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who chaired an emergency meeting on the floods in Kashmir late Wednesday evening, that the Centre must send a team of senior officers to the Valley. Mr Goswami, who is a J&K cadre officer, visited the Valley with a team of senior officers to supervise the relief and rescue operations. Altogether 1.10 lakh people have been rescued by the security forces so far, while several lakh more are still trapped in different locations. The security forces have been told not to focus on Srinagar but to start reaching out to others parts of South Kashmir, that were inundated with floods. The Centre is rushing a contingent each of the Delhi Police and SSB to the Valley to assist in operations there. The security forces feel it will take at least a week before all those stranded can be rescued. A third batch of naval marine commandos has also reached Srinagar, who will try to establish a waterway in the city for faster transport. Eighty-four transport aircraft and helicopters of the Air Force and Army Aviation Corps have been pressed into service. The Army has deployed around 30,000 troops for rescue and relief, out of which 21,000 troops are in the Srinagar region and 9,000 troops in Jammu. Military personnel are distributing water bottles and food packets on a large scale. Four field hospitals have been established in Avantipur, Pattan, Anantnag and Old Airfield, where medical aid is being provided to ailing people. Till now over 21,500 patients have been treated there. More relief materials, including blankets, tents, water bottles and food packets, are being airlifted from Hyderabad, Vadodara and Delhi. Keeping in view the urgent need to use more boats for rescue work, the Army has deployed 90 more boats in and around Srinagar.