Security forces are on high alert along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir as the threat of cross-border terrorism “continues to exist”, officials said on Saturday.
“The threat of cross-border terrorism continues to exist. The security forces are maintaining a state of high alert,” Rohit Kansal, principal secretary of the J-K government, who is also the state government’s spokesman, said.
Kansal was briefing the reporters about the situation in the state. “The day time restrictions have been lifted from 69 police stations across the length and breadth of the valley, while 81 police stations in Jammu region are without any day-time restrictions,” Kansal said.
Officials said traffic movement increased on Saturday and attendance in offices also improved. However, public transport remained off roads and markets in the Valley were shut for the 20th day. Despite the curbs, Kansal said, the total dispatch of fruits this year has been 1.20 lakh metric tonnes against 89,000 metric tonnes during the corresponding period last year.
Kansal said about 1,500 primary schools and 1,000 middle schools after restrictions were eased. He said security forces are maintaining a close watch and local disturbances were being handled at the local level. Incidents of protests and stone pelting have declined steadily in the past one week. “Three incidents were reported on August 21 and two on August 22,” he said.
He said restoration of landline telephone services is being reviewed continuously and eight new exchanges — comprising 5,300 phones — are likely to be restored “over the weekend”.
Officials also said the block development council polls will be held soon in the state. According to Kansal, the schedule for the BDC polls, the second tier of panchayati raj system, is being drawn up and “we are on course”.
“There has been an important decision taken regarding the elections to the BDC as the next step towards operationalising and institutionalizing the panchayat raj mechanism in the state,” Kansal told reporters.
The secretary, rural development department, Sheetal Nanda, said the elections would be held in 316 block councils across the state and the administration is targeting to complete the process by September end. Of total 316 BDCs, 147 are in Jammu region, 136 in Kashmir and 31 in Ladakh.
Shah stresses internal security
India cannot be a safe and secure country or grow into a developed nation unless its internal security system is strong, Union home minister Amit Shah said on Saturday.
“Our country is facing threat from extremists, narcotic smugglers and cyber criminals, besides terrorists sponsored by neighbouring countries. As IPS officers, you will have to face all these tough challenges ahead in your career. Unless internal security is maintained, the nation cannot be safe,” he said, speaking at the 103rd passing-out parade of Indian Police Service (IPS) probationers at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad. About 92 probationers from across India, six police officers from Nepal and five from Bhutan, graduated.
He paid tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first home minister who played a big role in integrating Hyderabad in the Indian Union. “He also got Jammu and Kashmir merged with India, but there was a still a line of separation in the form of Article 370. But thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the article has been abrogated, making Jammu & Kashmir an integral part of India,” he said.