NEW DELHI :
Security forces and intelligence agencies in Jammu and Kashmir are keeping a tight vigil as the Valley prepares for the tourist season against the backdrop of terrorists targeting civilians and imposing a shutdown.
This comes in the wake of Jammu and Kashmir emerging from a 72-day security lockdown, with the authorities restoring mobile phone communications in the Valley and the fear of terrorists targeting tourists.
“Jaish-e-Mohammed militants have been targeting civilians. We have reason to believe that they will also likely target tourists because the idea is to portray to the world that nothing is normal in Kashmir though most services have been restored. There is a very tight watch on security in the Valley, especially now that foreign tourists are about to come in during the ski season," a government official said, requesting anonymity.
Jammu and Kashmir was put under an unprecedented security cover and communication clampdown after the 5 August abrogation of Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and the splitting of the state into two Union territories.
The Central Reserve Police Force and the Jammu and Kashmir Police have been keeping a tight vigil across Srinagar and sensitive areas in south and north Kashmir such as Pulwama, Shopian, Sopore, Anantnag, and Baramulla.
“There won’t be any additional troop deployment. Tourists need to feel safe. However, we are wary of certain areas and are keeping a hawk’s eye on them and sanitizing these areas regularly," a paramilitary force official said on condition of anonymity.
The upcoming block development council elections on Thursday would mark the Centre’s first attempt at restoring democratic processes in the region following the detention and subsequent release of several leaders of the National Conference, the Congress, and the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party. Union home minister Amit Shah has issued instructions for officials to extend all possible support to panches and sarpanches in the region to carry out preparatory work for the elections.