New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday called an emergency meeting to review the situation in Kashmir where violent protests continued over civilian deaths in firing by the security forces.
The meeting held on 5.30 evening.
Briefing the media about the high level meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the situation in Kashmir, which has seen unrest for the last four days, Chidambaram said the Central Government has asked the security forces to show maximum restraint while dealing with the agitators.
“We have asked the Omar Abdullah and other ministers to visit the disturbed areas to take some political action, along with the action taken by security forces,” Chidambaram told reporters after the one-hour-long meeting at Manmohan Singh’s residence.
The meeting was attended by Chidambaram, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and senior officials of both ministries and chiefs of the security and intelligence agencies.
“We are confident that normalcy will be restored in a few days” in the Valley, Chidambaram said.
He said the meeting “appreciated the statement of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah which has largely corrected some wrongs impressions”.
Abdullah Tuesday made an emotional appeal for peace, vowing to ensure return of normalcy soon and slammed anti-national and vested interests for instigating violence.
Kashmir has been rocked by street violence and retaliation by the security forces for the past two weeks, resulting in the killing of 11 civilians, mostly teenagers, and imposition of curfew in many parts of the valley.
Chidambaram said 53 paramilitary personnel, including an inspector, have been injured.
He said the central government has repeated the directive to paramilitary forces to exercise maximum restraint while dealing with rioting mobs and stone pelters.
“The central government remains committed to assist the state government in restoring the normalcy” in the violence-hit Kashmir valley, he said.
The home minister hoped that the annual Amarnath pilgrimage “will go off peacefully”.
“Full protection will be given to (pilgrims). We hope nobody in Jammu and Kashmir will allow himself or herself to be misled even remotely to disrupt the yatra,” he said.
Presenting the monthly report card of the Union Home Ministry, Chidambaram said: “The anti-national forces are linked to the Lashkar-e-Taiba,”
He said the LeT was active in Kashmir Valley’s Sopore town.
Sopore is the worst hit by violent street protests in this month.
“Two militants were killed in an operation on June 25 in Krankshivan colony of Sopore. The LeT is active there,” he added.
Chidambaram further said anti-national elements linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba were trying to foment trouble in Sopore.