The Jammu and Kashmir administration has removed military bunkers at many places in the summer capital Srinagar ahead of the visit of the foreign envoys to the disputed region, witnesses said on Tuesday.
Envoys from Europe and Africa will visit Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday to assess the ‘development work’ and the security situation, especially after the completion of the District Development Council elections.
Witnesses said that they were surprised to see that bunkers were either removed or were being removed in the various areas of the city on Tuesday.
During their two-day visit, the envoys would receive ‘first-hand information on the development work undertaken by the Kashmir administration’ after abrogation of the special status of the disputed Himalayan region on August 5, 2019.
Witnesses said that a bunker was removed in Karan Nagar, which is a commercial hub, a few miles from the city centre Lal Chowk.
“Why are many bunkers being removed? Is it to make Srinagar look presentable to delegates?,” an internet user asked.
Similarly a bunker was also removed in Bhagat, which falls on the way to the airport, where the envoys will land for the ‘guided tour’ organized by the Indian government.
At Jehangir Chowk, a bunker has been removed as well and the military presence has been reduced, a witness, who wished not to be named, said.
“All day I saw less military on the roads as compared to other days,” a resident of uptown Srinagar said.
Reports have said that to ‘showcase the efforts of Indian government for ensuring democracy at grass-roots level’, the envoys would be meeting newly-elected members of the DDC besides holding a meeting with a few prominent citizens and administrative secretaries.
While resistance leaders in Kashmir remain in jails or house detentions, the Indian administration in Kashmir has also put pro-autonomy leaders, including two former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah under house arrest days ahead of the two-day tour of the foreign envoys.