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Rajnath Singh Reaches Out to Kashmiris With More Schemes and Promises Ahead of Eid

The biggest deal in the package is, however, the formation of nine new battalions in the valley. Around 5,000 people in the state are expected to get employment in these battalions.

Aarti Singh | News18.com

Updated:June 8, 2018, 9:50 PM IST
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Rajnath Singh Reaches Out to Kashmiris With More Schemes and Promises Ahead of Eid
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh addresses a press conference in Jammu on Friday. (PTI Photo)
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At the end of his two-day visit to Kashmir after the surprise “Ramzan Ceasefire” announcement, Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced several other measures on Friday that are likely to be seen as Centre’s goodwill package to the valley ahead of Eid.

Some of the proposals that the Union Home Minister finally okayed on Friday —formation of two women only battalions, financial assistance to West Pakistan refugees, raising battalions almost exclusively with people living on the state’s border — had been in the pipeline for some time now.

But Singh also announced some new schemes like increasing relief for Jammu and Kashmir migrants from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000.

The biggest deal in the package is, however, the formation of nine new battalions in the valley. Around 5,000 people in the state are expected to get employment in these battalions. Of these, two will be border battalions mainly comprising Gujjars and Bakarwals.

The Home Ministry has set a 60% reservation for locals living in the border belt, which will mean that many from these communities — who have helped security forces by being their “eyes and ears” — will now be empowered to man the borders.

Five other battalions will include India Reserve Battalions, which may be used as per the discretion of the state while the two others will be exclusively made of the state’s women folks — one for Jammu and another for Kashmir. This move, of raising women only battalions, is expected to provide employment to nearly 2,000 women in the state.

Rajnath Singh further announced financial assistance of Rs 5.5 lakh for 5,764 West Pakistan refugee families. He also announced that the Rs 5 lakh compensation given to people living at the border killed during cross-fires will now be directly credited to the bank accounts of the next of kin “and all conditions relating to fixed deposit have been removed”.

Singh met several delegations in Kashmir during his two-day tour, in which he also held discussions on the issue of possible extension of the “suspension of operations” or “Ramzan ceasefire” he announced on May 17.

While the state government is believed to have whole-heartedly supported the move of extending the “Ramzan Ceasefire”, sources say that the Army has expressed some reservations, chief among which is the relief that terror groups are likely to gain from the current situation, which they are likely to exploit to regroup and mount more deadly attacks.

The Home Minister held discussions with the J&K police, Army and CRPF on the upcoming Amarnath Yatra, which begins from June 28, will be a major consideration while taking the final call on “Ramzan Ceasefire”, sources said.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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