‘Extension Or No Extension In Ceasefire, All Eyes On HM’s Visit’

SRINAGAR — Amid speculations that the centre may extend the truce in Jammu and Kashmir, it has put Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s upcoming visit to the val­ley in a renewed focus.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is visiting state on June 7 to review post- ceasefire situation and upcoming Amaranth yatra arrangements, which is sched­uled to commence from June 28. “The visit has now assumed sig­nificance as for as the extension of ceasefire announced earlier by home minister during Ramzan is concerned. It is important what he says now,” one of the leaders of PDP told KNS, insisted not to be named.

Sources told KNS that the Home Minister on his visit to the state is likely to hold discussion with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and other key officials of the security establishment, in­cluding the Army.

“The Home minister is likely to interact with civil society groups, political parties and other stakeholders. Home Minis­ter will also hold meetings with heads of para-military forces and state police chief for understand­ing the post- ceasefire situation,” sources told KNS.

Sources said that Rajnath Singh would also focus on the fact that his government has taken an initiative and would like to engage Hurriyat leaders. “The DGMO of both India and Pakistan have agreed to honour the ceasefire. So if the borders are quiet, then the next step would be to engage with all stakeholders in the valley. The home minister would highlight this aspect too,” a senior officer told KNS.

Rajnath Singh had already an­nounced that the centre is willing to talk to Hurriyat leaders. “If they are ready to talk, it would be a positive step,” he had said.

Sources said that Singh would put the onus on the Hurriyat lead­ers to come to the talking table. So far, the leaders have not given clear indication if they would like to engage with the centre.

It is to mention here that the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Nir­mala Sitharaman had discussed Jammu and Kashmir situation including possible extension of conditional ceasefire after Eid festival in the Union capital.

Sources in the MHA told KNS that that Rajnath wanted to take view point of the Defence Minis­ter as Army was playing crucial role in anti-militancy operations both in the hinterland of Kashmir valley as well as Line of Control (LoC), where recently a major in­filtration attempt had been foiled with the killing of five militants.

However sources said that the Union Home Minister was likely to discuss the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi before taking final call on extension or no extension of ceasefire.

Sources did not rule out that the home minister will announce his decision on ceasefire during his visit to the valley.

Rajnath had on May 16 an­nounced ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir for the holy month of Ramzan i.e. suspension of opera­tions against militants but had maintained that security forces reserved the right to retaliate, if fired upon by the militants. (KNS)

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