House panel’s Ladakh, J&K visit from Aug 17

New Delhi: The parliamentary standing committee on home affairs will travel to Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir from August 17 to 21 for a detailed study on matters relating to the administration, development and people’s welfare in the two Union territories.

According to a communication from Rajya Sabha secretariat, the committee members will hold meetings with select stakeholders related to the subject along with representatives from the ministry of home affairs and administrations of the UTs. While the committee headed by Congress Rajya Sabha MP Anand Sharma has 28 members, it is not yet known how many will travel to the two UTs.

The panel has also desired to review and brief about the working conditions of the three armed forces — Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Border Security Force (BSF) — which are deployed in the region for law and order, and border security duties, as per the communication.

The committee is also likely to visit the border outposts (BoPs) manned by the ITBP and BSF along the Indo-China and Indo-Pakistan border, respectively, officials familiar with the development said.

The visit comes more than a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level interaction with mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir. The crucial meeting on June 24 was the first outreach by the Union government since it controversially scrapped the region’s special status on August 5, 2019, bifurcated the erstwhile state into two Union Territories (UT), detained mainstream political leaders for months and clamped a communications blackout.

The meeting was attended by several leaders, including Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad, National Conference leaders Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti among others. During the meeting, some of the leaders had raised the issue of restoration of statehood to J&K.

On Wednesday, the ministry of home affairs informed Parliament that full statehood to J&K will be restored at an appropriate time once normalcy is restored in the Valley.

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