HM reviews security situation in J-K ahead of Obama's visit

Chidambaram, who arrived in the north Kashmir town of Baramulla from Kargil in Ladakh region, took stock of the situation in Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara -- the three districts along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Valley which witnessed violent protests during the past four months.

Top officials of the state administration, police, CRPF and Army also discussed with the Home Minister the issue of infiltration by militants before the onset of winter at the meeting in Baramulla, 55 kms from Srinagar, after which Chidmabaram had a brief one-on-one discussions with the Chief Minister.

They said the Home Minister and the Chief Minister reviewed the overall security scenario in the state with particular reference to the upcoming visit of Obama beginning November 6.

Home Secretary G K Pillai has said that there was no specific terror threat in connection with Obama's visit but militants may try to create disturbance during his India tour to get publicity, the way they did in 2000 when President Bill Clinton was in the country.

"That's the type of fear that we have that innocent civilians will be killed and then the blame would be put like the last time on the Indian Army. All indications are that the propaganda machinery would be out to do the same. Therefore, we are being careful," he has said.

Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists had carried out a massacre of 36 Sikhs in Chattisinghpora in south Kashmir on the intervening night of March 19-20, 2000 when Clinton was on his first state visit to India.

Today's meeting in Baramulla was attended by Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda, Special Director General of CRPF, General officer Commanding of 19 Infantry Division and Inspector General of Police Kashmir Shiv Murari Sahai.

The other police officers to attend the meeting included SP Baramulla M A Untoo, SP Sopore Mohammad Altaf Khan, SP Kupwara V K Birdhi and SP Handwara Rafiq Vakil. The Deputy Commissioners of the three districts also attended the meeting, the sources said.

The Home Minister also met civilian delegations in Baramulla including those of Congress, National Conference, Fruit Growers Association, Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee and Bar Association, Tangmarg, they said.

Chidambaram also drove to parts of Baramulla town, where a strike had been called by hardline Hurriyat Conference headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Earlier the Union Minister, during his extensive visit to Kargil district, took stock of the pace of development works and also the problems being faced by the people who suffered due to recent floods, an official spokesman said.

He said Chidambaram also reviewed the steps being taken for reconstruction of infrastructure and assets damaged in the recent cloudburst and flash floods in Ladakh.
Chidambaram also chaired a meeting attended by State Ministers Qamar Ali Akhoon and Nawang Rigzin Jora, Chief Executive Councillor, Kargil Hill Development Council, Kachoo Ahmad Ali Khan and MP Ghulam Hassan Khan.

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