Kashmir on edge as fresh orders stoke wild speculations
Srinagar, Jul 29: Kashmir on Monday remained on the edge as fresh orders issued by Jammu and Kashmir administration officials stoked speculation about the possibility of the BJP-led government at the Centre taking a major decision with regard to the special status to the state.
As uncertainty loomed in the Valley, mainstream political parties also started making efforts to seek clarity from the Centre on the issue with National Conference president Farooq Abdullah requesting an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The administration has issued an order directing five zonal superintendents of police to provide a list of mosques in the city and its management committees, while another, which has made its way to social media, has asked police officers to collect information about passenger capacity of taxis and fuel capacity of petrol pumps.
Earlier, the Centre decided to send an additional 100 companies of central armed paramilitary forces (CAPFs) to the Valley.
The NC chief's request came soon after PDP president Mehbooba Mufti requested him to convene an all party meeting for building a consensus. Abdullah is likely to convene the meeting here later this week.
"We are hopeful of having an all party meeting in Srinagar this Thursday to discuss the current situation and also evolve a consensus on the way ahead," he said.
The former chief minister said he has sought an appointment with Prime Minister Modi in this regard but he is yet to hear from his office.
"We have requested the prime minister for a meeting and I am hopeful to hear from his office very soon in view of the sensitive situation in Jammu and Kashmir," Abdullah said.
Mehbooba in a tweet said: "In light of recent developments that have caused a sense of panic amongst people in J&K, I've requested Dr Farooq Abdullah sahab to convene an all party meeting."
"Need of the hour is to come together & forge a united response. We the people of Kashmir need to stand up as one," she said in the tweet.
However, NC vice-president Omar Abdullah responded by saying that the party was making efforts to understand the intentions of the central government for the state.
"Before calling senior leaders from other parties in J&K to discuss the current situation it's important to try to understand from the Central Govt about their intentions for the state & also how they see the situation at the moment. This is what @JKNC_ is focused on," he tweeted.
The situation in the Valley is tense as the fresh order directing the zonal SPs to provide the list of mosques here and its management committees has added to speculation about some major decision in the offing regarding Jammu and Kashmir's special status.
"Please provide details of mosques and their managements falling without your respective jurisdictions as per enclosed proforma to this office immediately for onward submission to higher authorities," according an order issued by the Srinagar senior superintendent of police to the zonal SPs on Sunday night.
Besides this, the officers have been asked to provide information about the ideological affiliation of the mosque committees.
Another order, which has found its way to social media, asks the police officers here to collect information about the passenger capacity of taxis and fuel capacity of petrol pumps in their respective areas of jurisdictions.
These orders, which were supposed to be confidential, have found their way to social media but some officers on the ground said they were yet to receive them.
These speculation have dominated the discourse in Kashmir over the past few days after the Centre decided to rush an additional 100 companies of CAPFs to the Valley.
Mainstream political parties have vowed to resist any such move to tinker with the special status.
Construction of new security pickets in the city are also seen in the backdrop of the new deployment of CAPFs in Kashmir. Several bunkers have come up in the old city here and areas frequented by tourists, including the Boulevard road along the Dal Lake.
Responding to questions, Governor's advisor on Home Affairs K Vijay Kumar said he cannot be countering rumours and speculations all the time.
"If somebody is causing panic or a rumour on social media, then I should not be countering it; it won't be proper. Somebody said extra security forces are coming. It is a calculated, deliberate, consulted response to the security grid available here.
"There was a reduction of the security grid due to our focus on the Amarnath Yatra. Therefore, the need arose, after deliberation, to requisition little more forces. It is a part of a plan which is in the pipeline," Kumar said.
On Saturday, a letter by a Railway Protection Force (RPF) official in Budgam asking employees to stock ration for at least four months and take other steps due to "forecast of deteriorating situation" in the Kashmir Valley "for a long period" created a flutter.
"As per inputs received from different security agencies and SSP/GRP/SINA (senior superintendent of police, Government Railway Police, Srinagar) regarding forecast of deteriorating situation in Kashmir valley and issue of law and order for a long period, a precautionary security meeting was held on July 27," the letter by Sudesh Nugyal, assistant security commissioner, RPF, Budgam, read.
The official asked the employees to take various precautionary measures like storing drinking water for seven days and fill vehicles fully to deal with the issue of law and order for a long period as there is a "forecast of deteriorating situation" in the Valley.
The railways, however, clarified that the communication had no basis and the official had no authority to issue it.