Union Home Minister Amit Shah will arrive in the summer capital, Srinagar, on Wednesday afternoon on a two-day visit to review the overall security situation and arrangements put in place for the annual pilgrimage to holy Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas, commencing from July 1.
Mr Shah, who will be on his maiden visit to Jammu and Kashmir after assuming the post of Union Home Minister, is also expected to review the developmental work done during the last one-year in the state.
The Union Home Minister will be accompanied by Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba on the two-day visit to the Valley.
Unprecedented security arrangements have been put in place in and around S K International Conference Centre (SKICC) on the banks of world famous Dal Lake, where civilian traffic will not be allowed to ply on Boulevard and Gupkar roads on Wednesday and Thursday.
Security forces have been deployed in strength along the Boulevard and Gupkar road stretches, which have been closed with barbed wires and vehicles for civilian movement. Security forces holding automatic weapons could be seen patrolling Dal Lake on Shikaras and motorboats.
Paramilitary and state police personnel have also been deployed in strength in many sensitive areas in the city, including Airport road.
Mr Shah will chair a meeting of the Unified Command — which comprises officers of the Army, Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the state police — to review security arrangements put in place for a peaceful Amarnath Yatra. ‘Discussion will also be held about counter militancy operations and overall security situation in the state,’ official sources said.
They said that the Home Minister will later in the day review the progress of development projects undertaken by the Centre. ‘Mr Shah is also expected to visit Amarnath holy cave shrine,’ they said, adding that the Home Minister will have a separate meeting with Governor Satya Pal Malik.
He is likely to meet BJP leaders besides a group of panches and sarpanches in the valley. However, he will not be visiting Jammu and Ladakh this time.
Traffic Police Srinagar on Tuesday issued traffic advisory on restrictions of vehicular movement to SKICC on Wednesday and Thursday.
The visit of Mr Shah comes at a time when Governor Malik has announced that moderate Hurriyat Conference (HC) chairman Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq was also ready for holding talks. Welcome the Mirwaiz statement on talks, Malik had said there is now change in the mood in the valley as everyone has realised that nothing can be achieved through violence.
According to the advisory, no motorist shall be allowed to ply towards Nishat, Shalimar, Harwan and adjacent areas via Badyari Chowk and Gupkar. ‘Similarly no traffic shall be allowed to ply from Ram Munshibagh towards Grand Place and shall be diverted towards Dalgate-Khayam for their respective destinations on 26 and 27 June,’ it said.
‘Likewise, motorists intending to travel from Harwan-Shalimar-Nishat, Ganderbal and other adjacent areas towards Lal Chowk are requested to travel via Hazratbal-Lal Bazar route instead of Foreshore-Boulevard road axis to reach respective destinations. Motorists intending to travel from Dalgate, Lal Chowk and adjacent areas towards Harwan-Shalimar-Nishat shall adopt Nowpora-Khayam-Rainawari via Dargah-Zakoora to reach their respective destinations,’ the advisory reads.
According to Traffic police, vehicles of the tourists who are residing in Dal and Nishat area and emergency service vehicles are exempted from the said restriction. ‘However, they are advised to restrict their movement to minimum requirement on Boulevard-Foreshore road axis,’ it added.
Timing for the traffic restriction as ordered by District Magistrate Srinagar will be from 0800 hrs to 2230 hrs on Wednesday and 0700 hrs to 1600 hrs on Thursday.