Shuja'at Bukhari

Expresses concern over "deteriorating situation"

Army officers brief NarayananScores of lives lost since May 21 attack on Congress rally

SRINAGAR: In the wake of the spurt in violence in Jammu and Kashmir, National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan arrived here on Wednesday, along with Chief of the Army Staff, General J J Singh, and Director of Intelligence Bureau E S L Narsimham, to review the security situation in the State

Sources told The Hindu that Mr. Narayanan on arrival straightway went to the headquarters of the Army's 15 Corps.

He was briefed by top Army officers, including General Officer Commanding of Northern Command Lt. Gen. Deepak Kapur and Corps Commander Lt. Gen. S.S. Dhillon, about . Mr.

Infiltration bids

Narayanan was apprised about the situation along the Line of Control and infiltration bids, which had reportedly increased in the last two months.

Measures being taken by the Army to fight militants came up for discussion.

The recent incidents of firing by the Army on protesters were discussed and stress was laid on avoiding such incidents. Army officers, however, termed such incidents as aberrations.

Mr. Narayanan also held a meeting with members of the Unified Command, comprising the top brass of the Army, intelligence agencies, paramilitary forces and the police.

Chief Secretary C. Phonsog, Director-General of Police Gopal Sharma and senior officers were present.

They gave an overview of the situation leading to the spurt in violence.

Even as the officers maintained that the number of militants had not increased, serious concern was expressed over the "deteriorating situation."

Scores of lives had been lost since the May 21 attack on a Congress rally here in which the target was Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Sources said Mr. Narayanan highlighted "major lapses" on the part of the security apparatus that led to the "situation was going out of hand."

However, they were assured that the militants had only changed their tactics and were engaged in targeted activities.

Citing examples of attacks by militants on Hindus in Doda, tourists and Amarnath pilgrims, the officials said they were aimed at creating panic and send a message that Kashmir was burning.

According to sources, the State administration was under tremendous pressure from the Centre to control the situation.