Updated: July 30, 2019 8:19:48 pm
With the deployment of additional forces fueling fears that it could be part of a plan to abrogate Article 35A, J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik on Tuesday asked people not to heed rumours regarding the state’s special status.
“A lot of rumours are spread here, do not pay any heed to them. Everything is fine, everything is normal,” PTI quoted Malik as saying when asked about the slew of orders appearing on social media about the possibility of a prolonged law and order situation in the Valley.
Asserting that any order appearing on social media was not valid, Malik said, “If someone catches a sneeze in Lal Chowk, by the time it reaches Governor house, it is projected as a bomb blast.”
This is a very serious matter raised by the Governor. Fake orders were circulated under the signature of senior government officers. This is not something that can be dismissed with a simple sound byte.The CBI must be asked to investigate these fake orders & their origin. https://t.co/NhnC9xxeSg
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) July 30, 2019
Reacting to Malik’s statement, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah demanded a CBI inquiry into the “fake orders” that had surfaced on social media.
“This is a very serious matter raised by the Governor. Fake orders were circulated under the signature of senior government officers. This is not something that can be dismissed with a simple sound byte. The CBI must be asked to investigate these fake orders & their origin,” Abdullah tweeted.
Kashmir has been on the edge for the past week after the Centre decided to dispatch an additional 10,000 personnel to Kashmir to “strengthen the CI (counter-insurgency) grid as well as for maintaining law and order”.
Senior police officers in Jammu and Kashmir described the deployment of the extra forces as “routine”, and intended to relieve their stretched colleagues in the state.
Apprehensions that the Centre might remove Article 35A — which empowers the J&K Legislature to define permanent residents of the state — and Article 370 have been growing ever since Assembly elections were delayed, and President’s Rule was extended earlier this year.
However, over the past three days, several Central government orders have further fuelled speculations of a major decision with regard to Kashmir was on the cards, leading to panic-buying of essential items by the citizens.
A letter was recently 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”.
However, the Ministry of Railways immediately “revoked” the letter and 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”.
Political parties in the Valley have warned the Centre against “thoughtless adventurism”. Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti said that fiddling with the special constitutional position of the state would burn the entire country.
“We are telling the central government that fiddling with Article 35 A is like setting fire to explosives,” Mufti said while addressing a public rally in Srinagar to commemorate the 20th foundation day of the party. “The hand that will rise to fiddle with it, not only that hand, the entire body will burn to ashes,” she added.
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