Rajnath Singh To Visit Kashmir Next Week To Check On Ramzan Truce

Rajnath Singh may highlight that by announcing the truce, the centre showed its willingness to bring permanent peace in Jammu and Kashmir

Rajnath Singh To Visit Kashmir Next Week To Check On Ramzan Truce

Rajnath Singh has already announced that the centre is willing to talk to Hurriyat leaders

New Delhi: Amid the Ramzan truce in Jammu and Kashmir, Home Minister Rajnath Singh will visit the valley next week to review the ground situation. It would be the home minister's first visit after the centre's May 16 decision to call a ceasefire during Ramzan.

Mr Singh is likely to highlight that by announcing the truce, the centre showed its willingness to bring permanent peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

The home minister has, however, pointed that the centre's decision not to proactively carry out operations during Ramzan was different from a unilateral ceasefire. The minister has said it had been clearly stipulated that the security forces would resume operation if any terror activity takes place. "We haven't tied hands of our security forces," he said.

Mr Singh would also focus on the fact that his government has taken an initiative and would like to engage Hurriyat leaders. "The DGMO of both India and Pakistan have agreed to honour the ceasefire. So if the borders are quiet, then the next step would be to engage with all stakeholders in the valley. The home minister would highlight this aspect too," a senior officer told NDTV.

Rajnath Singh has already announced that the centre is willing to talk to Hurriyat leaders. "If they are ready to talk, it would be a positive step," another official said.

Mr Singh would put the onus on the Hurriyat leaders to come to the talking table. So far, the leaders have not given clear a indication if they would like to engage with the centre.

People familiar with the matter say the home minister's schedule is being chalked out. "He would also be reviewing the security pertaining to Amarnath Yatra," an officer said. This year's 60-day Amarnath Yatra is scheduled to begin on June 29.

"This would be a mega security review as only after that the forces would move in to take their positions," a senior state police officer told NDTV.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra, whose term is to end later this month, also called on the home minister on Friday to discuss arrangements for the Amarnath Yatra. Mr Vohra might seek an indefinite extension till the time the next suitable successor is found, people with direct knowledge of the matter told NDTV.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also met with Rajnath Singh on Friday and briefed him about the army's view on extension of ceasefire. Army Chief Bipin Rawant had visited the valley recently and reviewed the situation.

Security officials posted at the valley, however, say that the ceasefire should not be extended as terrorists may gain lost ground. "Bodies of BSF jawans are reaching various parts of the country. Shelling is becoming politically expensive for the BJP government and that is why they are keen to engage everyone," a former director general of police said.