Srinagar: Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday chaired a meeting of the unified command, the main security grid in Jammu and Kashmir. In a departure, separatist leaders have not called for a protest shutdown during the home minister`s visit.
The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah besides top officials of the local police, paramilitary forces, the army and those from the state and the central intelligence agencies.
The meeting was held in the morning at the Sher-e-Kashmir Convention Complex (SKICC) amid tight security. Chidambaram spent the night at the nearby Raj Bhavan where Governor N.N. Vohra was his host.
Educational institutions, shops, other businesses, banks, post offices were open and transport, both public and private, plied normally in Srinagar, which is flooded by thousands of tourists this year.
Although authorities have made elaborate security arrangements for Chidambaram`s visit, care has been taken that normal life is not affected.
This is a remarkable departure from previous security exercises during VVIP visits to the valley when restrictions, traffic diversions and barricades would mar normal life.
"The home minister is taking a review of the prevailing law and order situation in the valley. He is also reviewing the arrangements made by the state for the annual Amarnath Yatra which starts here June 29," a senior state government official said.
Chidambaram is later visiting the Pahalgam hill station in south Kashmir where he would hold a meeting of the district level officials to review the law and order situation and the arrangements for the Amarnath Yatra. He is to spend the night at Pahalgam, situated 74 km south of Srinagar, official sources said.
CM Omar Abdullah, Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, senior officials of the union home ministry and the state government, paramilitary forces and the local police would also camp at Pahalgam with the home minister for the night.
A heavy blanket of security has been thrown around the hill station with security forces manning the dense forest areas and mountains in and around the resort.
A state protocol department owned hut has been done up for Chidambaram`s night halt at Pahalgam.
Sources said that the thrust of the home minister`s two-day visit to the valley is to focus on continuation of the prevailing peace here.
Last year, the home minister visited the valley which witnessed unprecedented street violence. A total of 110 people lost their lives in clashes with the security forces.
Chidambaram had taken a district level security review in north Kashmir`s Baramulla district in October last year.
On Wednesday, he is scheduled to visit a forward post on the Line of Control (LOC) in Gurez sector where the Border Security Force (BSF) has organised a function for the minister.
He flies back to New Delhi Wednesday afternoon.
Omar Abdullah, an avid Tweeter, has posted: "With the home minister in town tomorrow promises to be a pretty manic day - meetings in Srinagar, Pahalgam and dinner all on the menu."