Ehsan Fazili & Majid Jahangir
Tribune News service
Srinagar, August 24
A youth was killed in a clash between protesters and police in Pulwama district and 16 security personnel were injured in a militant attack as Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh held talks with political leaders during his second visit to Kashmir in a month.
During the talks, Rajnath who is on a two-day visit to the restive Valley, was told the Centre should initiate a dialogue with all stakeholders to find a lasting solution to problems in Jammu and Kashmir.
Amir Ahmad Mir of Ratnipora was killed and several others got injured in the clash at Pinglina. Amir was shifted to SMHS hospital, Srinagar, where he succumbed to his injuries. With this the death toll in recent violence has gone up to 68.
Rajnath’s visit comes a month after his earlier two-day visit on July 23 when he had held discussions with the leaders of different political parties and individuals. The visit assumes significance in view of the recent meetings of the state opposition parties led by former chief minister Omar Abdullah with President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Meanwhile, 16 security personnel, including 12 CRPF men and four policemen, were injured in a militant attack in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district in the afternoon.
Among the injured CRPF personnel, one was an officer. Three officers of the J&K Police were among four injured cops.
Police said militants lobbed a grenade and later opened fire at a police party in Pulwama, 35 km from here, near a degree college injuring 16.
“The injured included Additional Superintendent of Police, Pulwama; Deputy Superintendent of Police, Pulwama, and a Station House Officer. The SHO has been shifted to Army’s 92 base hospital in Srinagar,” the police officer said.
The area has been cordoned off by forces to track the militants involved in the attack.
Ahead of his visit to the Valley, Rajnath Singh said on micro-blogging site Twitter, “I will be staying at the Nehru Guest House. Those who believe in Kashmiriyat, Insaniyat and Jamhooriyat are welcome.”
I will be staying at the Nehru Guest House. Those who believe in Kashmiriyat, Insaniyat and Jamhooriyat are welcome.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) August 24, 2016
Immediately upon his arrival at the Nehru Guest House here, Singh, accompanied by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and other officials, held a meeting with different wings of administration including security, health and maintenance of essential commodities for the people.
Official sources said Singh asked head of para-military forces, dealing with the law and order situation, to exercise maximum restraint while dealing with protesters and also appreciated their efforts in maintaining law and order in the Valley.
The Home Minister was conveyed that there has been improvement in situation on the ground, there is no scarcity of essential commodities and health services are functioning, they said.
After the review meeting, the Home Minister had separate meetings with heads of para-military forces and state police chief for understanding their working conditions and also to enquire whether there was an operational requirement.
Later, a delegation of opposition National Conference led by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah met the Home Minister and urged him to immediately ban use of pellet guns as a crowd control means in Kashmir.
BJP's national secretary Ram Madhav told reporters in Delhi that the Home Minister will meet all those people who want to see him and talk about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. — With PTI inputs
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