Security has been tightened for the three-day visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to Jammu and Kashmir beginning Monday evening, officials said. Shah is scheduled to address two rallies – one in Rajouri district of the Jammu region on Tuesday and another in Baramulla in north Kashmir on Wednesday.
There have been two major terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir over the past week. Officials on Monday said a multi-tier security arrangement has been put in place for the Union 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 have been deployed to keep a close watch on the situation, they said.
“Police and CRPF personnel have been deployed at several places in Srinagar as well as elsewhere in the Valley as part of the security measures," an official said.
Patrolling has been intensified at many places, especially on the Srinagar-Baramulla-Kupwara highway, the official added.
“High-resolution camera-equipped drones are keeping a vigil at many locations and are aiding the security forces in maintaining surveillance," the official said.
Director General of Police Dilbag Singh, who visited both the venues last week, said attempts are being made by terrorist and their handlers to disrupt peace in Jammu and Kashmir but all necessary security arrangements are in place for the high-profile visit and “… to sabotage the VIP visit or any such activity that sends a positive message to the people, the terrorists and their handlers across the border try to show that all is not well (on the security front)," the police chief had said here on Sunday.
Terrorists had on Sunday attacked a security forces team in Pulwama district of the Union territory, 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, and injured two persons.
Also, a former terrorist was arrested and five improvised explosive devices including three sticky bombs had been seized. However, the DGP said by and large things were improving with each passing day and they have tried to hit the terror ecosystem on various fronts as a result of which the security scenario is much better today than it was four years back.
“There is a drastic change in the overall security situation in J&K as born out by facts and figures and not based on mere claims…a very large number of successful operations have been conducted," he had said.
Officials said Additional Director General of Police, Jammu Zone, Mukesh Singh visited Rajouri this morning and reviewed the security arrangements at a high-level meeting on the eve of the home minister’s rally.
Officials said security has also been intensified in Jammu and the holy town of Katra, the base camp for the pilgrims visiting Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district.
Shah is scheduled to visit the shrine and offer his prayers on the last day of the Navratra festival on Tuesday before leaving for Rajouri to address the rally, the officials said.
They said the Home Minister is likely to meet several delegations including those from Gujjar and Bakerwal besides meeting some senior BJP leaders, shortly after his arrival here.
He will also inaugurate and lay the foundation stone for development works in the Jammu region after returning from Rajouri.
The Home Minister is scheduled to leave for Kashmir on Tuesday evening and will address the public rally at Baramulla on Wednesday.
The BJP’s J-K president, Ravinder Raina, 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 Shah will make any announcement about assembly elections in J-K, Raina said deciding the poll schedule was the prerogative of the Election Commission of India, 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.
Shah will also inaugurate and lay the foundation of several developmental works in Srinagar besides chairing a high-level security review meeting along with Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Wednesday.