Jammu and Kashmir, beset by political turmoil and violent killings in recent days, is set to see new developments on the security front -- from new advisors taking charge to the deployment of elite 'black cat commandos'. The state was placed under Governor's rule on Wednesday.
The state Assembly has been kept in suspended animation. Further, Governor N N Vohra has reviewed security measures and brought in former top cop Vijay Kumar, a counter-insurgency specialist, as one of his two advisors.
These developments come after the PDP-BJP government collapsed on Tuesday as the BJP snapped its three-year-old alliance with the regional party, citing "larger national
interest" and "deteriorating security situation". As a result, Mehbooba Mufti was forced to resign as chief minister.
Here are the top security and political developments in the insurgency-hit state:
1) NSG to combat terrorists in Kashmir:
Security Guards (NSG) will be deployed soon for counter-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir, officials have informed news agencies. For quite some time now, an NSG team has been stationed in the Kashmir Valley, where it is undergoing rigorous training on the outskirts of Srinagar.
What will the NSG be doing there? Counter-terrorism experts have told news agencies that the black cats will be helpful in situations where room-to-room intervention is required.
Why was the decision taken? The decision to deploy NSG commandos in the Valley comes in the wake of increasing incidents of encounters where security forces have lost soldiers during high-risk house intervention operations in densely populated localities.
The commandos have through-the-wall radars at their disposal and will be used to eliminate holed-up terrorists without causing much damage to the structure.
2) Military operations to continue as usual:
As Governor Vohra held multiple meetings in Srinagar on Wednesday, Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat said the ongoing military operations in the Valley against terrorists would continue as earlier. Governor's rule in the state is unlikely to have any impact on ongoing military operations, General Rawat told reporters in New Delhi.
3) IPS officer who led to Veerappan's end to advise Governor:
K Vijay Kumar, a former IPS officer and an anti-Maoist expert, has been named advisor to Governor Vohra. Kumar's experience ranges from jungle warfare and security detail to counter-insurgency. Also, Chhattisgarh cadre IAS officer B V R Subrahmanyam has been appointed the Chief Secretary of the state in place of B B Vyas.
Kumar, a 1975 batch IPS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, had earlier served in the Kashmir valley as Inspector General of the Border Security Force from 1998 to 2001, when the border guarding force was actively involved in counter-militancy operations.
Kumar, 65, had shot to fame when he headed the special task force for a long time and strategised operations that culminated in the elimination of the dreaded forest brigand, Veerappan, after an encounter in Tamil Nadu in October 2004.
He was later appointed as a director general of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) after Maoists killed 75 personnel in Dantewada in 2010.
4) Forces turn focus on Amarnath yatra:
Days ahead of the annual Amarnath yatra, the CRPF on Thursday said that security forces were looking into law and order and counter-intelligence.
The two-month long pilgrimage to the 3,880 metre high cave shrine of Amarnath will commence on June 28.
A joint review of the security and administrative arrangements for the upcoming Amarnath Yatra was carried out by General Officer Commanding of Chinar Corps Lt Gen A K Bhatt and Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police S P Vaid along with the Victor Force commander, IGP Kashmir Zone and IG CRPF, the spokesperson said.
5) Separatist leaders detained:
Authorities on Thursday placed senior separatist leaders under detention in the summer capital, Srinagar, to prevent their participation in a shutdown that derailed life in the Kashmir Valley.
Police took Muhammad Yasin Malik, chairman of pro-Azadi Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), into preventive custody in Srinagar to stop him from taking out a protest march in the city.
Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Syed Ali Geelani were placed under house arrest at their residences on the outskirts of Srinagar.