All the five Superintendents of Police (SPs) in Srinagar district have been told to submit details of “mosques and their managements” in their respective areas “immediately”.
“Please provide details of mosques and their managements falling within your respective jurisdictions as per enclosed proforma to this office immediately for onward submission to higher authorities,” says an order dated July 28, issued by the office of the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Srinagar district.
When contacted, SSP, Srinagar, Haseeb Mughal confirmed the order but said it was a “routine exercise”. “It is an exercise only to update the basic beat book of the police stations. This exercise is done periodically,” he told The Indian Express. He added that the “timing of the letter is wrong” and people may have got apprehensive.
The order, which is being circulated on social media, has added to the fear and speculation triggered by the deployment of additional forces in the Valley. It comes days after a police wireless message asked officers to “communicate shortfall of riot-control equipment/ gas gun, TSMs” for “special law and order duties”.
Also, a letter was purportedly issued by the office of the Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, Railway Protection Force (RPF), Srinagar, asking employees to stock ration and drinking water, not to keep their families in Kashmir, and to restrict leave due to the “emergency situation”. In its clarification, the Ministry of Railways said the officer “was not authorised to issue such a letter and did not have the approval of the competent authority to do so either”.
Recently, a communiqué was issued by a senior officer in Budgam district, asking tehsildars and naib tehsildars to provide details of Imams of all major mosques in the area. The administration, however, later said the government wanted to engage the Imams in an anti-drug campaign.
Responding to a question on the issue, K Vijay Kumar, advisor to the Governor, said on Monday: “If somebody is causing panic or spreading a rumour on social media, then I shouldn’t be countering it. It won’t be proper. All I am trying to say is what is the source of this rumour.”
On the deployment of additional security forces, he said: “Somebody said extra security is coming. It (deployment) is calculated, a deliberate, consulted response to the security grid which is available here. There was reduction of the security grid due to our focus on the Amarnath Yatra. Therefore, a need arose to requisition more forces. It is part of a plan which is in the pipeline… It will not be proper for me to rebut it every time.”
Meanwhile, J&K Peoples Conference president Sajad Lone tweeted: “Yet one more order is circulated on WhatsApp. Typical psychological operations aimed at scaring people. Scare is not perpetual. Wonder what is in store for us. The state seems to be so keen on investing in hatred.”