NSA Ajit Doval lunches, chats with locals in south Kashmir

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval interacts with the locals while reviewing security situation in Shopian, J&K. (PTI Photo)

National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval on Wednesday (August 7) undertook a whirlwind visit to the militancy-infested south Kashmir and assured the locals that their security is the government’s responsibility.

Doval arrived in Kashmir on Tuesday, a day after the Centre revoked the provisions of Article 370, which gave special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir. He is reaching out to the local population in the Valley as a confidence building measure (CMB).

“Everything will be alright. Your safety and security is our responsibility,” Doval told people in Shopian district. An unprecedented security cover and several restrictions are in place in Kashmir. All modes of communication have been snapped in the Valley.

Doval was seen eating food on a footpath outside closed shops and talking to locals. He exchanged views with them on the security situation and the government’s decision to abrogate provisions of Article 370 and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories.

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“Your children and their children will continue to live here. They will make their name in the world,” the NSA told people.

He also met policemen in the area and praised their role in the containing the situation in the state for the past several years. “Jammu and Kashmir Police is one of the best police forces. It has a special place for us,” Doval told the policemen.

Later, videos of Doval, flanked by director general of police, Jammu and Kashmir, Dilbagh Singh, interacting with locals and policemen went viral on social media.

Meanwhile, an eerie silence prevails in the city with concertina wire barricades laid on deserted streets and police and armed forces personnel allowing civilians to move only after thorough checking, although there is no official curfew.

Two days after the Centre’s announcement to scrap special status for Jammu and Kashmir and split it into two Union territories, people remained confined mostly indoors amid uncertainty as communication links have been snapped by authorities to prevent any disturbances.

The “undeclared curfew” has left many people confused and nervous. Amid the restrictions, an unfortunate incident took place in Noorbagh on the outskirts of the city.

CRPF personnel chased a group of youths who had assembled in the locality and one of the youths who jumped into river Jhelum to escape the wrath of the armed paramilitary forces drowned, officials said.

There was a protest in the locality but it ended after baton charge in which six people were injured, the officials said. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval reviewed the situation and was seen in a video clip having lunch with a few people in Shopian district.

People with only urgent work are being allowed to move in the city. They are being subjected to intense checking repeatedly at force pickets where uniformed personnel have discretion to allow them passage or turn them back.

In the absence of any public or private transportation, locals are resorting to taking lift to reach the airport.

Also read: Pakistan expels Indian envoy, suspends trade over Article 370 repeal