'Foreign forces behind J&K problem; China aiding them'
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti categorically stated on Saturday that "external forces" are creating the problem of terrorism in the state. Emerging from a meeting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh here to discuss the law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir, especially security for Amarnath pilgrims, Mufti told reporters, "The Kashmir issue is not a law and order problem. It is happening because of external forces. The ongoing fight is a handiwork of external forces and now unfortunately China is also trying to meddle into it."
During the meeting, which lasted nearly an hour, the J&K chief minister apprised the Union home minister about the steps taken to maintain peace in the Kashmir Valley, officials said. The steps taken to ensure the security of Amarnath pilgrims too were discussed, they said.
Mufti said that she had discussed with Singh the attack on Amarnath pilgrims. "The attack was designed to create communal tension in the country. But I am grateful that the entire country, political parties and the Central Government, especially the home minister, helped us in overcoming the tragedy," she said.
Seven pilgrims were killed by militants in Anantnag district while returning from the Amarnath cave shrine on Monday. Security agencies engaged in anti-terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir have been told to implement security plans with full vigour, said officials.
So far, more than 1.86 lakh pilgrims have visited the high altitude Himalayan shrine. As many as 21,000 paramilitary personnel, in addition to state police forces and two battalions of the Army have been deployed for the security of the pilgrimage routes.
The number of paramilitary personnel deployed this year is 9,500 more than last year. Four districts of the state — Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Anantnag — have been on the boil since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016.
The unrest has resumed since the April 9 by-poll to the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat. Mehbooba said that the Jammu and Kashmir government had requested the Central Government to ensure that Article 370 of the Constitution should not get diluted as it has an emotional connect with the people of the state
3 Pakistan-backed JeM terrorists killed in Tral
Three terrorists of the Pakistan-funded and supported Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) were killed in an encounter with our security forces in a forest area of Tral in Pulwama district of south Kashmir on Saturday, a police official said. While two of the terrorists were killed in the morning, another took shelter inside a cave and was finally killed after several hours of gun battle in Tral, about 36 km from here. The bodies of all the three militants and their weapons were recovered from the scene of the gun battle which started early in the morning when security forces launched a cordon & search operation after receiving information about presence of militants there. "The killing of the militants is a major setback for the outfit which is trying to revive its activities in the valley," the official said.