The National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the two major mainstream political parties in the Valley, on Friday reacted strongly to the government’s security advisory, asking Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and tourists to leave Kashmir at the earliest.
After addressing a press conference at her Srinagar residence late Friday evening, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti reached out to mainstream political leaders in the Valley on how best to address the situation and the apprehension over possible abrogation of J&K’s Constitutional safeguards.
In Delhi, the top leadership of the Congress met to discuss the situation and urged the Narendra Modi government not to take any decision that could “precipitate a deep crisis”, and asked it to maintain “Constitutional guarantees” given to J&K.
The Left parties pointed out that Parliament should have been taken into confidence before sending out such a missive.
In a series of tweets, NC leader Omar Abdullah stated, “Although this unprecedented order [security advisory] would seem to suggest a genuine fear of a massive terror strike directed at Amarnath ji yatris or/and tourists this will do nothing to dampen the sense of fear & foreboding that prevails in the valley at the moment…. Seriously? You think an official order telling tourists to leave immediately will not cause them to run from the valley as fast as they can?”
PDP’s Mufti alleged that the Centre had resorted to “military might” and “psychological warfare” in the state.
“First the avalanche of private orders about stocking up supplies that somehow made their way into public domain. And now news like this will create panic & distress,” she tweeted. “So far, GOI’s resorted to military might & psychological warfare like techniques vis a vis J&K. Neither will work.”
She later met NC chief Farooq Abdullah at his residence, and later left for the residence of Peoples Conference president Sajad Lone, where Shah Faesal was also present. The three leaders together addressed a press conference and said they will jointly fight for safeguarding J&K’s special status.
Former IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal asked on Twitter, “JK Govt has asked Tourists and Amarnath Yatris to leave Kashmir immediately in view of a security threat. Is the Government considering any such advisory for locals also? Should Kashmiris also migrate to other places or is it that our lives do not matter?”
In Delhi, the Congress met under the chairmanship of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the developments and the prevailing political situation in the state, party leaders said.
The party said the “massive build-up of security forces, curtailment of Amarnath Yatra, the unprecedented advisories being issued to tourists, yatris and other civilians, are creating an atmosphere of heightened insecurity and fear”.
The party noted that there is widespread fear and apprehension in the minds of the people across the state about the Centre’s “intentions of abolishing Articles 35-A and 370.”
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said concerns were expressed at the meeting over “continuous reports emanating from both the Union Home Ministry and the State Government which were creating an atmosphere of panic and apprehension about the intentions of the government. The Congress urged the Government not to take any decision which would precipitate a deep crisis.”
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted, “Parliament is in session. Why isn’t the PM taking the House into confidence? The panic and rumours allowed to fester in J&K are helping nobody.”