In a major step towards J&K returning to normalcy, Governor Satya Pal Malik Monday recalled the Home Department’s August 2 order asking Amarnath yatris and tourists to immediately leave the Valley. The Governor’s order will come into effect from October 10, allowing tourists to return to the state for the first time since Parliament abrogated Article 370.
The decision was taken at a meeting held to review the security situation in Kashmir. The meeting, chaired by Malik, was also attended by the Principal Secretaries of Planning and Housing & Urban Development Department.
On August 2, the J&K administration, in an unprecedented move, called off the annual Amarnath Yatra ahead of time in view of the “latest intelligence inputs of terror threats”.
The order had led to panic in the Valley and people in Srinagar crowded markets to make emergency purchases and stock essential goods. In the next 72 hours, Parliament passed a Bill abrogating J&K’s special status and bifurcating the state into two union territories. Ever since then J&K has been reeling under an unprecedented security clampdown, with mobile communications cut off and mainstream political leaders held under detention.
Last week’s announcement of Block Development Council (BDC) elections in the state was seen as the first test to the prevailing security situation in Kashmir and gave hope that normalcy would soon return in J&K. On Monday, the Governor was informed that there is “active interest in the BDC elections and most of the seats of Chairpersons of BDCs would be filled”.
Malik was told that party members are being allowed to meet their presidents who are in jail so that they can take a decision on elections and authorise someone to approve candidates.
He was also briefed about the progress in apple procurement which has crossed 850 tonnes and worth Rs. 3.25 crores.