Rajnath Singh announces formation of nine battalions in J&K, meets border dwellers affected by Pakistani shelling

Home minister Rajnath Singh on Friday announced the formation of nine battalions in Jammu and Kashmir during a press conference on his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to review the security there.

"We will form nine battalions, out of which two battalions will be border battalions, which will be deployed at sensitive areas in border villages," he said. "Two women battalions will also be deployed from Jammu and Kashmir," he added.

The home minister also announced a series of other measures to improve security in Jammu and Kashmir, especially along the border areas.

File image of Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

File image of Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

"When people living in border areas lost their livestock, Rs 30,000 per animal was the compensation given. But the compensation could be given only for 3 animals, even if 10 animals had died. But now, instead of Rs 30,000, Rs 50,000 per animal will now be given as compensation. We have also removed the limit for such compensation," said Singh.

He also announced Rs 5 lakh as compensation for every life lost at the border and five bullet-proof ambulances for the border areas. He also said that over 14,000 bunkers will be installed in sensitive areas.

"MHA has revisited the scheme of giving Rs 5 lakh for persons killed during cross-border firing and ceasefire violations. Now, this amount of Rs 5 lakh will be directly credited to the account of next of kin and all conditions relating to fixed deposit have been removed," he said.

"We have decided to give financial assistance of Rs 5.5 lakh per family for West Pakistan refugees settled in Jammu and Kashmir. Nearly 5,764 families will be benefited from this decision," ANI further quoted him as saying.

On the issue of the Ramzan ceasefire, the home minister said, "For the Muslim community, the month of Ramzan is a very important month. That's why the prime minister had announced the suspension of operations. We will review the security situation and act accordingly."

Singh on Friday also met border dwellers affected by Pakistani shelling in RS Pura belt of Jammu region and assured them that bullet-proof vehicles will be stationed there for their use during firing from across the border.

The home minister, who arrived in Jammu and Kashmir on a two-day visit on Thursday, also told them that more bunkers would be built in the border areas to save lives during shelling by Pakistan, according to officials.

Forty-seven people, including 20 security personnel, have been killed and over 130 injured in the RS Pura sector in Pakistan shelling and firing this year.

During their interaction with the home minister, the border dwellers, living under fear, demanded that bunkers should be built in every house to prevent casualties.

They also sought strict implementation of the 2003 ceasefire agreement with Pakistan to bring an end to the shelling from across the border.

Singh assured them that five bullet-proof vehicles will be stationed in the region for use by the people living close to the border.

The Centre has already given a sanction for construction of over 14,400 bunkers at a cost of Rs 415.73 crore along the Line of Control and the International Border in Jammu division.

Before flying for Jammu, he visited the border district of Kupwara and met several delegations, besides Gujjars.

According to official data, there were 1,252 ceasefire violations by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir between January and 31 May this year.

Singh, who was in Srinagar on Thursday to review the ongoing suspension of security-related operations during Ramzan, had said that the Centre was ready to hold a dialogue with all "right-minded" people to usher in peace in the state.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Jun 08, 2018 18:59:32 IST

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