Defence Minister of India Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday met Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik in Srinagar to review the security situation in the conflict-stricken state ahead of the municipal and panchayat body elections. Sitharaman was accompanied Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.
On a day long visit to the state, Sitharaman visited the Balbir forward post in Kupwara district and met the 28th Infantry Division’s troops.
“There was a discussion on the security situation in the state, including internal and external factors. As you know, there have been some targeted terrorist attacks—at members of the security forces and their families. There has been some unrest in the state and firing across the border. There was a general review of the situation and security preparedness,” a person, requesting anonymity said.
The security situation in the valley is currently unstable due to recent hearing of the petitions in the Supreme Court on Article 35-A, which has led to a surge of protests by civic bodies and resistance leaders. The municipal elections are set to be held across four phases between 1 and 5 October, while the panchayat elections will take place across eight phases from 8 November to 4 December. News reports say that outfits active in the state have warned political parties and voters to stay away from the polls.
Earlier in June, the PDP-BJP coalition government collapsed, citing security concerns and rising militant activity in the valley, after which Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti submitted her resignation. The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind had given his approval of immediate Governor’s Rule in JK, following the collapse of the PDP-BJP coalition.
Newly-appointed Jammu and Kashmir governor, Satya Pal Malik said, in an interview with The Indian Express, that he was informed about his new assignment just two hours before the public announcement on August 21.
“The Prime Minister called me and said you will get good advisors and administrators, go and work in J&K. So I have come to the morcha (front).The name had to be announced that evening because Vohra saheb (predecessor N N Vohra) had already come to Delhi and not a single day’s gap could be left,” he said.
Malik stated that some ‘key announcements’ would soon be made in Delhi, after his meeting with Home Minister of India, Rajnath Singh.