JAMMU, June 26: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today deputed a high level three-member team of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to Jammu and Kashmir to visit the State for two days from Tuesday for comprehensive review of security scenario including steps required to strengthen the Security Grid to thwart Pampore like attack and take on spot review of security arrangements for annual Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra, beginning July 2.
The team comprised Susheel Kumar, Secretary (Border Management), Mahesh Kumar Singla, Special Secretary (Internal Security) and Gyanesh Kumar, Joint Secretary (Kashmir).
Official sources told the Excelsior that the team would visit Jammu and Kashmir for two-days from Tuesday for in-depth study of security situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of Pampore attack in which eight CRPF personnel were killed and reports that a number of militants might have infiltrated into Kashmir during past few days from the Line of Control (LoC) and could create more trouble in the days to come.
“The high-level MHA team would devise strategy to strengthen Security Grid in the hinterland comprising all security agencies to thwart the militant attacks on security personnel and civilians including Amarnath yatris. It would also look into the security lapses, if any, in Pampore attack,’’ they said, adding that the team will look into the issues of possible increase in cross-border infiltration and the practices and procedures being followed by the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) during movement of their convoys.
The Union Home Minister has directed that the team should submit its report at the earliest.
According to sources, the Defence Ministry and the Home Ministry have issued immediate advisories to Army and CAPFs respectively to strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), which is already in place, while moving from one place to another including the National Highways and other places.
“The SOP is already in place. The Ministries have asked their troops to ensure that it was strictly adhered to avoid Pampore like attack. The security personnel have also been asked to strengthen their movement and maintain high vigil during movement in the State in view of reports that some groups of militants have recently succeeded in infiltration from the LoC and could target them,’’ they said.
The MHA team would meet top officials of all security agencies including heads of para-military forces, Intelligence agencies and Jammu and Kashmir Police and devise strategy to check the militant activities to keep internal security situation in tact and make fool-proof arrangements for annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji yatra, which is due to start in less than a week from now i.e. July 1 from Jammu and July 2 from Pahalgam and Baltal base camps.
The major concern for the Home Ministry and the J&K Government was that majority of attacks on CRPF, BSF and police personnel in the recent past have taken place in South Kashmir and base camp of traditional Amarnath yatra also falls at Nunwan, Pahalgam in Anantnag district of South Kashmir.
Though the MHA has already given 125 additional companies of CAPFs to J&K Government for safety and security of Shri Amarnath ji pilgrims, it could consider deployment of more troops, if asked for, to ensure fool-proof security of the pilgrims right from Lakhanpur to Shri Amarnath Ji cave in South Kashmir Himalayas.
The Defence Ministry and the Home Ministry, in their advisories, have asked the troops and CAPFs respectively to take all precautions mentioned in the SOP during movement on National Highways, encounter with militants and maintaining law and order not only to avert collateral damage and keep their casualties to minimum while eliminating the militants.
Sources said security personnel were likely to launch major offensive against the militants in South Kashmir to kill them before they could undertake fresh strikes.