Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday asked the Army to maintain greater vigil along the borders to prevent infiltration so that peace and tranquillity in the hinterland are not threatened. She also called for further reducing the footprints of the Army in the civilian areas and places frequented by tourists. Mufti was interacting with Army Chief, General Dalbir Singh Suhag, who called on her to discuss important matters relating to internal and external security management in Jammu and Kashmir and the general geo-political situation in the region.
She called for minimising the visibility of the troops from the civilian areas and tourist places in the State, an official spokesman said here. He added she said the troops should ensure that no civilian is harmed and there is minimum damage to civilian properties during encounters with the militants. “While the Army is competent enough to deal with the situation along the borders, for internal security, police and paramilitary forces should shoulder the greater responsibilities,” the Chief Minister was quoted as having told the Army Chief. Gen. Suhag who is on a visit of the Valley was accompanied by GOC-in-Chief Northern Command, Lt. Gen. D S Hooda, GOC of Srinagar-based 15 (Chinar) Corps, Lt. Gen. Satish Dua and other senior commanders. They briefed the Chief Minister on the overall security scenario and the steps being taken by Army to maintain peace in the State through greater public participation.
Mufti, official spokesman said that the CM urged upon the Army commanders to help consolidate and carry forward the State government’s confidence building measures on the security front and initiative of border tourism which would go a long way in ensuring peace and tranquillity along the borders and within the mainland. While appreciating the role of the Army in civic action programmes like Sadhbavana, she asked them to involve the local youth in activities like sports and skill development, especially in the remote border areas of the State.
A defence spokesman added that following his meeting with J&K Governor, NN Vohra, in New Delhi on Monday, Gen. Suhag had had a “cordial meeting” with the Chief Minister at her official residence here during which a wide range of issues from the overall security scenario to the specific arrangements for the forthcoming Amarnath yatra and the Assembly by-poll in southern Anantnag was covered. Ms. Mufti is seeking election from Anantnag, the seat which fell vacant following the death of her father and then sitting MLA Mufti Muhammad Sayeed on January 7 this year. The 48-day-long Amarnath yatra which is scheduled to commence on July 2, coinciding with Massik Shivratri, an auspicious day as per Hindu calendar, and conclude on Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandan) on August 18, 2016, is expected to be joined by over half a million devotes from across the country and aboard.
Earlier in the day, the Army Chief was briefed by Lt. Gen. Dua about the preparedness of Chinar Corps in dealing with the emerging security challenges and measures to thwart any misadventure by the inimical forces, defence spokesman Colonel N.N. Joshi said. He added that the Corps Commander also highlighted the measures adopted to integrate the efforts of various security forces for efficient intelligence network and synergised conduct of operations.
The Army Chief also visited the forward areas of Baramulla as also Awantipura in south Kashmir where he was briefed upon the operational readiness by the respective formation commanders. He also interacted with officers and men during the visit complimenting them for their untiring efforts. “Expressing his satisfaction over the measures instituted by Chinar Corps to ensure security in the Valley, Gen. Suhag reiterated there was need to continue to work in integration and close coordination with other security agencies to thwart the designs of enemy and ensure peace in the region.