Narayanan expresses concern over Kashmir situation (Lead)August 20th, 2008 - 9:43 pm ICT by IANS
Srinagar, Aug 20 (IANS) National Security Advisor (NSA) M.K. Narayanan Wednesday expressed concern over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in the Valley, where separatists have been organizing massive public rallies like they did in the 1990s, sources said.His remarks came during a high level review of the situation in the state, the sources said.
Narayanan, accompanied by Intelligence Bureau Director A.C. Haldar and officials of the union home ministry, arrived here Wednesday morning and left for Delhi in the evening.
Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra chaired a high level meeting to review the security situation in the Valley, where thousands of protesters had turned out in response to the call given by separatist leaders during the last 10 days.
Besides Narayanan and Haldar, Kashmir Chief Secretary S.S. Kapoor, Home Commissioner Anil Goswami, police chief Kuldeep Khoda, additional director general of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) A.K. Ghosh, and the commanders of the three army corps in the state also attended the meeting.
Senior central and state intelligence officers also briefed the NSA about the surcharged atmosphere in both the Valley and the Jammu region.
Sources also said the meeting deliberated over the inputs provided by the intelligence agencies and the possible ways and means to deal with the situation in the coming days.
“The team would prepare a detailed note for the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office), taking into account the perceptions carried by the team its visit to the Valley,” the sources said.
Narayanan’s trip came in the wake of the bitter Amarnath land row that has created an unprecedented communal divide in the country’s only Muslim-majority state.
Muslim separatists fighting Indian rule in the Valley had this week organised a huge rally in Srinagar seeking UN intervention to resolve the more than 60-year-old Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, schools, shops and offices conducted routine business Tuesday and the valley limped to normalcy after days of shutdowns and protests against an alleged “economic blockade” by demonstrators in the Hindu majority Jammu region.
Markets, government offices, banks and business establishments were also open in the valley. Long queues were seen outside ATMs.
On Aug 11, at least five people, including a senior leader of Jammu and Kashmir’s moderate Hurriyat faction, were killed in clashes with security forces as they marched towards the Line of Control (LoC) in Baramulla district against the “economic blockade”.
Since then, tensions have escalated leading to people defying curfew and the police firing at protesters in several places.
While 17 more people in the Kashmir Valley were also killed, the death toll in the entire state in the waves of protests and counter-protests now stands around 40.
The dispute is over 40 hectares of land in the valley the authorities awarded to a board managing the annual pilgrimage to the Hindu shrine of Amarnath.