Central team reviews situation in Kashmir Valley

August 5th, 2008 - 10:04 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Srinagar, Aug 5 (IANS) A high-level central team comprising Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh Tuesday reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary S.S. Kapoor, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director General V.K. Ghosh, corps commander of army’s 15 corps, Lt Gen Mukesh Sabharwal, Divisional Commissioner (Kashmir) Masood Samoon and senior officers of police and security agencies participated in the meeting.

The central team had held a similar meeting at Jammu Monday evening.

The Jammu region has been witnessing violent protests for more than a month following the state government’s decision to cancel its allotment of 40 hectares of forest land to the Amarnath shrine management for pilgrim facilities.

The order had been withdrawn following widespread protests in the Kashmir Valley.

Briefing the media, Kapoor said while the overall security and law and order situation was reviewed, the focus of the meeting was fully securing the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway for free and smooth flow of trucks carrying fuel, essentials and fresh fruit on either side of the Jawahar Tunnel.

He said Governor N.N. Vohra had issued clear instructions to ensure free movement of trucks on the highway, which had seen blockades by protesters. He said measures had already been put in place to ensure hassle-free plying of trucks between Lakhanpur and Srinagar, leading to improvement in the scenario.

He said 400 Srinagar-bound load carriers had been cleared at Lakhanpur Monday besides 150 trucks arriving from Srinagar. He said besides fuel tankers, 46 trucks carrying sheep also arrived in Srinagar Monday.

He said the situation in Jammu was also reviewed and measures to restore normalcy discussed.

The chief secretary underscored the need for dialogue to defuse the situation in Jammu and said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had convened an all-party meeting Wednesday to discuss ways and means to address the matter.

Meanwhile, senior separatist leader and chairman of the breakaway Hurriyat group Syed Ali Geelani called for a general shutdown in the Valley Wednesday to coincide with the all-party meeting convened by the prime minister.

Geelani told mediapersons that if the central government withdrew the Amarnath forest land revocation order, it would be responsible for its disastrous consequences in the Valley.

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