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Vaishno Devi Visit on Last Day of Navratri to Big-Ticket Rallies: Peek at Amit Shah's J&K Calendar

By: News Desk

Edited By: Nitya Thirumalai

News18.com

Last Updated: October 04, 2022, 13:00 IST

Srinagar, India

Union Home Minister Amit Shah receives a portrait of Maharaja Hari Singh, the last king of J&K, during his interaction with representatives of the Dogra community, in Jammu on October 3, 2022. (PTI)

Union Home Minister Amit Shah receives a portrait of Maharaja Hari Singh, the last king of J&K, during his interaction with representatives of the Dogra community, in Jammu on October 3, 2022. (PTI)

The Pahari community is hoping for an announcement of Scheduled Tribe status during Amit Shah's visit to Jammu and Kashmir, but the Gujjars and the Bakerwals have expressed resentment against the move

Union Home Minister Amit Shah is currently on a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, during which he is scheduled to address public rallies, meet delegations of Gujjar, Bakerwal and Pahari communities, and undertake a darshan to the Vaishno Devi shrine.

Multi-tier security arrangements have been put in place for Amit Shah’s visit, particularly his public rally on Tuesday, Day 2 of the visit, in Rajouri. All intelligence agencies are maintaining the highest level of alertness, and police and paramilitary forces are taking utmost care of security arrangements in their areas of jurisdiction, a security official said.

Here’s a snapshot of the Union Home Minister’s schedule in Jammu and Kashmir:

October 3: On Day 1 of his visit, Union Home Minister Amit Shah met several delegations, including representatives of the Dogra community. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Union minister Jitendra Singh were also present during the meetings. The delegation, led by BJP J&K unit chief Ravinder Raina, thanked the Centre for declaring a state holiday on the birth anniversary of the last Dogra ruler of the region, Maharaja Hari Singh, on September 23.

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Officials said representatives of the Gujjar, Bakerwal and Pahari communities also met the Home Minister separately on Monday, as did a Sikh delegation.

October 4: Amit Shah began Day 2 of his visit with a trip to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine atop Trikuta hills on Maha Navami festival. Accompanied by L-G Manoj Sinha and Union Minister Jitendra Singh, the Home Minister arrived at Sanji Chhat by helicopter to offer prayers on the concluding day of Navratra celebrations.

After leaving the shrine, Amit Shah was scheduled to fly to the border district of Rajouri to address a public rally. A multi-tier security cover has been put in place around the venue and a thick deployment of teams from the police, paramilitary and intelligence agencies has been made. The venue has been sealed by security forces and only those carrying special passes are allowed to enter.

October 5: Day 3 of Amit Shah’s visit will get underway with a security review meeting at Raj Bhavan, followed by a public meeting in Baramula. On Wednesday, Shah will also launch and lay the foundation stone for development projects in Srinagar.

Big Announcement Likely

The BJP has promised the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to Paharis, a long-pending demand of the community mostly residing in Rajouri and Poonch in the Jammu region and Baramulla in north Kashmir, where Amit Shah is scheduled to address public rallies. Gujjars and Bakerwals have expressed resentment over the proposed inclusion of Paharis in the ST category.

There is massive enthusiasm among the Paharis in anticipation of a major announcement from the Home Minister, but at the same time, the Gujjars and the Bakerwals, apprehending dilution of the ST status, have come out to express their resentment against the proposed move. Hundreds of Gujjar and Bakerwal college students staged a peaceful march to oppose the likely inclusion of the Pahari-speaking people in the ST category.

STs have been granted 10% reservation in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly for the first time after a recent delimitation exercise. Nine seats have been reserved for the STs, while seven are reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SCs). Gujjars and Bakerwals also staged a protest in Shopian district of south Kashmir, threatening to intensify the agitation if Paharis are given the ST status.

BJP’s J&K president Ravinder Raina has said Shah’s rallies will be “historic". “These will be the biggest rallies in the history of Rajouri-Poonch and north Kashmir," he said.

Asked whether the Home Minister will make any announcement about Assembly elections in J&K, Raina said deciding the poll schedule was the prerogative of the Election Commission, but the BJP was ready for elections. “Elections will happen… It is the job of the ECI (to announce the poll schedule). But the BJP is ready for the polls," he said.

Security Blanket

Ahead of Amit Shah’s visit, the Union Territory witnessed two major terrorist attacks. Officials said a multi-tier security arrangement has been put in place for the Home Minister’s visit and drones are being used for aerial surveillance as well.

The checking on Jammu-Poonch and Srinagar-Baramulla highways has been intensified, while additional police and paramilitary personnel deployed to keep a close watch on the situation.

Terrorists had on Sunday attacked a security forces team in Pulwama district, killing a special police officer (SPO) and injuring a CRPF jawan. Twin blasts had ripped apart two parked buses in Udhampur district of Jammu region within eight hours during the intervening night of September 28 and 29, injuring two persons. A former terrorist was arrested and five improvised explosive devices including three sticky bombs had been seized.

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first published:October 04, 2022, 13:00 IST
last updated:October 04, 2022, 13:00 IST