Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Saturday lauded security forces for dealing with internal and external threats in Jammu & Kashmir and assured them of the Centre’s full support in maintaining peace in the State.
Mr. Shinde, who chaired the Unified Headquarters meeting here in the morning, appreciated the way the Army, the Police, the CRPF and the BSF have dealt with law and order problems, militancy within the State and infiltration bids from across the Line of Control, official sources said.
They said the Home Minister, however, asked the security grid to remain alert ahead of winter as there might be attempts from across the LoC to push in militants into the Kashmir Valley.
Mr. Shinde was briefed about the various measures taken to check infiltration and on the counter-insurgency operations in the hinterland, they said.
The security of panches and sarpanches also came up for discussion during the meeting, the sources said, adding that Mr. Shinde asked the State Government and security officials to take steps that will ensure a general sense of security among the grassroots level representatives.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, senior Police officers, Army officers, intelligence agency heads in the State and representatives of para-military forces attended the meeting.
The Home Minister, who arrived on a three-day visit to the State on Friday, visited the Dal Lake on Saturday to assess the conservation and preservation works carried out so far. The Centre has sanctioned over Rs.350 crore for saving it.
He also visited Hazratbal shrine on the banks of the lake and offered prayers there.
Visits Lal Chowk
Highlighting the improvement in the security scenario in Kashmir, Mr. Shinde also went shopping in the posh Polo View market here and drove through the city’s Lal Chowk area.
Mr. Shinde, accompanied by Mr. Abdullah, went to the market to buy some Kashmiri handicrafts, official sources said.
The Home minister then drove to Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) at the historic Lal Chowk before heading towards the Amirakadal bridge.
The VIP cavalcade then passed through Iqbal Park, Lal Ded Hospital and Zero Bridge before heading back to Raj Bhavan, the sources said.
Though Mr. Shinde’s predecessor P. Chidambaram drove through the old city late in the evening last year, this is for the first time since eruption of militancy that the Home Minister of the country has visited the commercial hub of Lal Chowk even as people carried on with their normal chores. - PTI