As the third Tourism Working Group conference of G20 (Group of 20) nations takes place in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir has transformed into a security fortress. The three-day conference, which begins today, is the first major international event to be held in J&K since the repeal of Article 370 in 2019.
Marine commandos as well as the National Security Guard (NSG) have been stationed in the area. However, security has been increased further after a 26/11-style terror attack was allegedly disclosed because of allegations by a detained overground worker (OGW). Terrorists rely on OGWs for logistical help, currency, and housing, among other things, to carry out their activities.
A 26/11-style attack was stopped.
According to an India Today story, terrorist outfits planned an attack on Gulmarg during the G20 summit at the request of Pakistan’s spying agency, the Inter-Service Intelligence. The OGW operating in a posh hotel allegedly revealed information on a planned terror attack like to the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008.
Farooq Ahmad Wani, who had been arrested by security personnel in the last week of April as part of the operation leading up to the G20 summit, made the revelations. According to a report by ANI, he was detained in Sopore as part of a combined operation by the army and the Jammu and Kashmir police and was connected to the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) organisation located in Pakistan. The police had said in April that they had found evidence against Wani, including a hand grenade.
Strict security line
Marines and NSG commandos in the area are on high alert due to a security concern. At the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC), the location of the G20 conference, Marcos oversees maintaining security around Dal Lake. According to NDTV, area control operations have been carried out by NSG commandos with police and paramilitary troops.
As a result of rumours that terrorists may be planning to attack the G20 summit, the army, the Border Security Force (BSF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) are also on high alert. There is a drone detection system and CCTV cameras in place.
There are around 60 members from G20 member nations present, with Singapore having the most people. Representatives from nations with special invitations are also present.
However, several countries have made the decision to abstain. The Kashmir summit has been resisted by China. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are also probably going to skip.
Srinagar has been given a facelift and is prepared to host the event with the help of a security blanket. Compared to the two previous summits, it would have the biggest representation of international participants, G20 Chief Coordinator Harshvardhan Shringla said on Sunday.
Halfway through its G20 chairmanship, India has hosted 118 meetings around the nation.
No visit to Gulmarg
The Tourism Working Group conference itinerary has been altered at the last minute. Gulmarg, which was one of the highlights of the trip, would no longer be visited by foreign delegations.
However, no official announcement on the probable terror assault has been issued. The north Kashmir ski resort would not be on the agenda of the delegates due to a “smaller number of participants” and “logistics issues,” Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh stated on Friday, May 19.
The J&K government has improved the 51-kilometer route from Srinagar to Gulmarg, where foreign delegations were due to take a gondola trip up Mount Apharwat. It has not, however, commented on the change in itinerary.
In recent weeks, terrorist activity has increased in north Kashmir where Gulmarg is situated. Four terrorists were slain in two confrontations earlier this month in the districts of Kupwara and Baramulla.
Since intelligence agencies have forewarned of a potential terror attack targeting them, certain schools in J&K will also stay closed until the G20 summit is complete, according to The Wire.
The planned trip to the Dachigam National Park in Srinagar has also been postponed in addition to Gulmarg. According to a senior government source, the visit to the park—famous for Kashmiri stag hangul—was postponed due to “space issues.” Around 200 visitors were on a tour of a wooded location where JeM militants had a confrontation in July 2021, and security services were worried for their safety.
The Polo View Market, the Valley’s first pedestrian-only market recently opened with several services as part of the ongoing $980-crore Srinagar Smart City project, would be presented to the delegates, according to the report, by the organisers.
The advice of the security authorities was taken into consideration while changing the delegates’ schedule.
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