Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Jammu and Kashmir Lt. Gov. Manoj Sinha arrive for a meeting to review developmental activities in J&K, in New Delhi, Friday, June 18, 2021. (PTI )
NEW DELHI: With the security forces continuing to have an upper hand in Jammu & Kashmir and the state appearing to reap a “safety” dividend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to hold a meeting of all political parties in the state on June 24.
While the date could be still under discussion, official sources said the plan for the meeting is under consideration and has been tentatively scheduled. The meeting will be seen as a bid to move the political process in the UT after a gradual easing of restrictions on internet and detention of political leaders. The agenda ahead includes delimitation and holding of elections and the installation of a government.
Home minister Amit Shah on Friday reviewed the situation in UT, sparking speculation about a possible political initiative. J&K LG Manoj Sinha attended the review held amid a steady decline in terrorist incidents, local recruitment and infiltration this year: gains which would not have looked possible until recently and which have enabled the administration to push the coverage of central schemes to 90% and vaccination coverage to 76% of the population aged 45 years and above.
Shah noted the improved security scenario and the expanded reach of central schemes, and stressed the need to speed up implementation of the PM’s development package and other industrial projects.
The meeting was held against the backdrop of speculation that the Centre was exploring the possibility of building upon the relative peace to take political measures. When contacted, sources refrained from confirming whether likely political steps figured in the meeting. “The focus was on development and vaccination and let us keep it at that,” a source said.
At a separate security review on J&K chaired by Shah on Friday where NSA Ajit Doval, heads of central intelligence agencies and paramilitary forces besides the J&K DGP were present, the statistics appeared to confirm the upper hand for security forces. Terrorist incidents were down to around 40 till May 31 this year as compared to 238 in 2020. As many as 52 terrorists were killed in the first five months of 2021.
At his meeting with Sinha, Shah complimented him and his team for success of Covid vaccination drive in J&K, with four districts achieving 100% vaccination in 45+ category. The success of the “J&K vaccination model” can be attributed to special initiatives, including door-to-door jabs and a bid to help people overcome hesitancy by involving community and religious leaders to bust vaccine “myths”.