New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be on a two-day visit to Kashmir from Monday during which he is expected to renew the offer for talks with separatists and
review the progress in the Round Table peace initiative and development work being undertaken in the state.
Official sources said today that the Prime Minister will address a convocation of the Sher-e-Kashmir Agricultural University in Srinagar. Governor NN Vohra, who is also the
university`s Chancellor, had invited Singh to the event.
Tight security arrangements are being made with police pickets erected at various places to combat threats from terror groups. A `hartal` call has been given by pro-Pakistan
leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani which was supported by Aasiya Andrabi of hardline separatist group Dukhtaran-e-Millat.
It will be for the second time that the Prime Minister will be visiting the Kashmir valley after he got a second term last May. He was in Srinagar last October.
Singh will also be accompanied by Union Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Prathviraj Chauhan.
The Prime Minister will begin his visit by holding consultations with various political parties of the state over the progress on recommendations made during the two sessions
of the Round Table Conference chaired by him.
The visit comes against the backdrop of the "quiet diplomacy" initiated by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram with separatist leaders failing to make any headway as the Hurriyat refused to join it owing to pressure from militant groups.
Singh is likely to renew the offer of the Union Government to hold talks with separatists asking them to work towards restoring normalcy in the state.
He is expected to hold meetings with various political parties of the state during which ruling National Conference is likely to seek early talks on providing greater autonomy
in the state as recommended by Sagir Ahmed Committee set up by the Prime Minister himself, the sources said.
A meeting with senior bureaucrats and Army and police officials was also being planned to discuss the spurt in infiltration from across the border.