Srinagar/New Delhi: The news of massive troop movement into the State of Jammu and Kashmir — 10,000 initially and later 25,000 more soldiers have been deployed — has led to a speculation that Articles 370 and 35A are all set to be abrogated and that the huge Army presence is aimed at pre-empting violence that may erupt in the Valley as a result. People are spreading another rumour that the State will be trifurcated into a Muslim Kashmir, a Hindu-Sikh Jammu and a Buddhist Ladakh. Many are perhaps reading too much into the news of the suspension of classes at the NIT.
While Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik is pleading with the people not to pay attention to rumours, both NC leader Omar Abdullah and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti sense an end to their quasi-Indian politics that entails a soft corner for separatists.
Jammu-Kashmir govt asks yatris, tourists to leave Valley
Kashmir remained on the edge on Friday as a fresh order asking tourists and Amarnath yatris to leave the Valley triggered panic among the residents as they started stocking up dry ration and essentials, fearing long law and order disturbance.
The State government issued an advisory to Amarnath pilgrims and tourists to curtail their stay in Kashmir immediately.
“Keeping in view the latest intelligence inputs of terror threats with specific targeting of the Amarnath Yatra, and given the prevailing security situation in the Kashmir Valley, in the interest of safety and security of the tourists and Amarnath Yatris, it is advised that they may curtail their stay in the valley immediately and take necessary measures to return as soon as possible,” an order issued by Principal Secretary, Home Department, Shaleen Kabra here read.
The order led to panic in Kashmir which has remained tense for the past few days after the Centre ordered the deployment of 100 companies of additional troops in the Valley.
The deployment of the troops and various orders gave rise to the speculations about some major decision in the offing regarding the Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
Apprehending deterioration in the law and order situation, people were seen lining up at departmental stores in the city and elsewhere to stock up dry ration and essentials.
Petrol pumps also witnessed a huge rush of customers.
Earlier in the day, the Army said Pakistan-based terrorists are planning to target the Amarnath Yatra in the Valley.
But security forces are up to the task to foil any such design, it added. PTI SSB MIJ
NIT Srinagar suspends classes indefinitely
National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar has suspended its classes till further orders in view of the ‘uncertain’ situation in Kashmir. “This is for the information of all the students of the institute that the classwork for all courses stands suspended till further orders,” an order issued by the Registrar of NIT on Friday read. “The above notice stands issued in accordance with the instructions received from the District Administration Srinagar,” it added.
However, district magistrate Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said no instructions were given to shut the institute. “In wake of unstoppable rumours, heads of all institutions were advised in the day to remain careful. No advise/instructions for shutting down any institution. This NIT notice is apparently a miscommunication,” Choudhary said on Twitter.
In wake of unstoppable rumours, heads of all institutions were advised in the day to remain careful. No advise/instructions for shutting down any institution. This NIT notice is apparently a miscommunication. pic.twitter.com/Og9WarThID
— Shahid Choudhary (@listenshahid) August 2, 2019
“We notify when we issue closure order. Our 900+ schools/KVs are open today. Objected to NIT claim of Dist Adm directions to close instt. Citing SM triggered panic among parents they sought transportation help for limited numbers. We assured full security in campus too. That’s all (sic),” Choudhary added.
Jammu-Kashmir governor’s plea
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Malik has asked political leaders in the State to tell their supporters to maintain calm and not to believe “exaggerated rumours” being circulated in the Valley. The governor said this to a delegation of political leaders of various parties led by PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, an official spokesman said here in a statement late Friday night.
The governor requested the political leaders to ask their supporters not to mix up matters, to maintain calm and not believe exaggerated rumours being circulated all around.
The governor himself had clarified matters on Article 35A in Baramulla on Thursday and the day before in Srinagar, the spokesman said. He said the delegation expressed concerns about the panic situation in the Kashmir valley created by the developments during the day including the advisory issued by the government asking Amarnath yatris and tourists to return as soon as possible.
Malik informed the delegation that there were serious and credible inputs which were available to the security agencies regarding terrorist attacks on Amarnath Yatra. He told the leaders there was a press conference earlier in the day by the Corps Commander of the Army and the DGP in which details of the weapons and ammunition recovered were given.
“Details of the seriousness of the threats that are there were also given. They also mentioned that the security forces were going to tackle these threats head-on and will not allow them to succeed,” the governor said. “It is in this context that the government had issued an advisory asking yatris and tourists to return as soon as possible. These are a vulnerable group of people who do not know the area and are extremely vulnerable to a terrorist or a fidayeen attack,” he said.
“It is the responsibility of the state to provide security to all its citizens. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, yatris and tourists have been asked to return. This is to ensure that no terrorist attack takes place on them,” Malik added.
Malik further said unnecessary panic was being created by linking the advisory to all kinds of other issues. “A pure security measure is being mixed up with issues with which it has no connection. That is the cause of the panic,” he said.
Peoples Conference leaders Sajad Lone and Imran Ansari and bureaucrat-turned-politician and Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement leader Shah Faesal were part of the delegation.
On Friday, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said the “gloves are finally off and India has chosen territory over people” as speculations grew in the Valley about some possible major decisions regarding Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
Mehbooba, a former chief minister, appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to tinker with the State’s special status and warned that the repercussions of such a move would not be good.
Mehbooba, along with leaders of other parties, called on Governor Satya Pal Malik Friday night and requested him to “dispel rumours that have caused a sense of panic in the valley”. She said New Delhi seemed to be preparing “to rob” the people of Jammu and Kashmir of “whatever little is left to protect their unique identity”.
“You failed to win over the love of a single Muslim majority state which rejected division on religious grounds & chose secular India. The gloves are finally off & India has chosen territory over people,” the Peoples Democratic Party leader tweeted.
You failed to win over the love of a single Muslim majority state which rejected division on religious grounds & chose secular India. The gloves are finally off & India has chosen territory over people.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) August 2, 2019
“(PDP founder and two-time chief minister) Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) sahab would always say that whatever Kashmiris will get, it will be from their own country India. But today the same country seems to be preparing to rob them of whatever little is left to protect their unique identity,” she said in another tweet.
Mufti sahab would always say that whatever kashmiris will get , it will be from their own country India. But today the same country seems to be preparing to rob them of whatever little is left to protect their unique identity.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) August 2, 2019
Addressing a press conference at her residence in the evening, Mehbooba said if the prime minister wanted to win the hearts and minds of the people of Kashmir by talking about “Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat, Kashmiriyat”, why was such an atmosphere being created where the people feel their identity was under threat. “I am sure the people of the country want the people of J-K and not just the land. But the situation is such that it seems you think about J-K as an issue of territory. The whole territory is with you already,” she said.
Mehbooba said Jammu and Kashmir was the only Muslim majority State which rejected the two-nation theory and joined with a secular and democratic India under difficult times on the conditions that its unique identity would be protected. “There are constitutional guarantees for its protection. Today, it seems that attempts are being made to end those constitutional guarantees. There are many rumours. If you attack the state’s special identity for which the people have rendered immense sacrifices, then I think it is an excess on the people whose repercussions would not be good,” she said.
Mehbooba said she would meet leaders of other political parties in the valley to build a consensus over the issue and put up a united fight. After the press conference, she called on NC president Farooq Abdullah, Peoples Conference leaders Sajad Lone and Imran Ansari, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement leader Shah Faesal.
“After a brief discussion, we called on Shri Satyapal Malik ji, Governor J&K & requested him to dispel rumours that’ve caused a sense of panic in the valley. Thankful to Farooq sahab, @sajadlone,@imranrezaansari and @shahfaesal for their time today,” Mehbooba tweeted.
Earlier in the day, the former chief minister expressed hope that Kashmir would not be “used as a red herring to distract masses from the real issues”. “The economy is in free fall but I hope like always Kashmir isn’t used as a red herring to distract masses from the real issues. Such a move will have catastrophic consequences & push Kashmiris to the brink,” she said.
Mehbooba said for a State that is often referred to as the crown of India, “the uncaring and callous treatment meted out to its people is disconcerting”.
“Ideally some sort of clarification should’ve been issued. Instead a misinformation campaign is being run while an uneasy calm prevails in Kashmir,” she said as the Valley remained on the edge even as a fresh order asking Amarnath yatris and tourists to leave Kashmir was issued by the State administration.
In the aftermath of the order, people started buying essentials and lining up at petrol pumps to fill their vehicle fearing disturbances in the law and order situation.
“Complete chaos on the streets of Srinagar. People rushing to ATMs, petrol pumps & stocking up on essential supplies. Is GOI only concerned about the safety of yatris while Kashmiris have been left to their own devices?” she said as the city witnessed traffic jams at several places.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Saturday said Jammu and Kashmir Governor SP Malik had assured his party that no moves are planned on repealing Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution, or the State’s trifurcation.
However, the former chief minister said he wanted an assurance on these issues from the Centre in Parliament on Monday.
Abdullah and some of his party colleagues met the Governor Saturday on these issues. “He assured us that there was no movement on (repealing) Article 370 or Article 35A or delimitation (of constituencies in the state),” he told reporters here. Abdullah said he had asked his party MPs to move a motion in Parliament on Monday seeking a statement from the Union government on the situation that has developed in Jammu and Kashmir over the past few weeks. “We want the government to make a statement on the situation in the state in the Parliament,” he said.
Abdullah appealed to the people of the state to keep calm and control their emotions and not take any step that may align with the aim of the people with vested interests.
‘If you believe State will be trifurcated, you do not know Modi-Shah’
“Dividing the State into three parts along religious lines will be defeatism,” said a reliable source in the top echelons of power. “This means you are conceding that you failed to govern a Muslim-majority region while ensuring its Hindu natives (Kashmiri Pandits) return to their home and hearth,” the source said. This will send a wrong message to the world, he said.
“However, Home Minister Amit Shah, in consultation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will do everything possible within the framework of the Constitution,” he said. On being asked whether “everything possible” included abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, the leader said, “Why not?”
What happens then to the ‘assurance’ given to Kashmiris that Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and their ilk wax eloquent about? What happens to ‘Kashmiriyat’, the leader was asked. “What Kashmiriyat? Have you heard of any such thing as Himachaliyat or Bihariyat?” he thundered.
“Every region of the country has a unique culture and lifestyle, but as Indians the only philosophy that should guide us is Bharatiyat,” the leader said.