Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Jammu and Kashmir on April 24, sources have said, his first since the erstwhile state was stripped of its special status in August, 2019 and bifurcated into two Union Territories.
Sources told The Indian Express PM Modi is likely to meet and address Panchayat representatives in Jammu. “A detailed itinerary and his programmes are still in the works, but the PM will likely be in Jammu on April 24,” a central government official said.
April 24 marks the Panchayati Raj Diwas, the day when the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 came into force in 1993. J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha had met Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh, who also holds the Panchayati Raj charge, last week.
Modi’s visit comes at a time when the Delimitation Commission on Jammu and Kashmir is about to complete its work, with election in the newly formed UT expected in the latter part of this year or early next year.
Last year, in a move that was seen as extending of an olive branch, Modi had invited mainstream leaders from the UT, many of whom had been detained after the Article 370 abrogation, to his residence in Delhi and held a long meeting with them.
Apart from promising to hold elections soon, the PM had told the leaders J&K’s statehood would be restored after the situation returns to normal.
Modi’s visit also comes amid a surge in attacks on civilians, many of them non-locals, in the Kashmir Valley.
On Monday, a Pandit shopkeeper was wounded after suspected militants shot at him in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.