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Everything is normal in Kashmir, don’t heed rumours: Guv Malik

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Srinagar, Jul 30: In a bid to allay popular fears which have pushed Valley to the edge, Governor Satya Pal Malik said on Tuesday that “everything is fine, everything is normal” and rejected as “invalid” government orders that had generated panic in recent days.

A series of government orders, including the one which spoke of prolonged law and order situation, had generated widespread speculation that the Centre was planning to abrogate Article 35-A of the Constitution, which provides exclusive rights to immoveable property and government jobs only to natives of Jammu and Kashmir.

Political parties in the state had reacted strongly to such a possibility, warning of dire consequences.

Dismissing the speculation, the Governor said, “Koi valid order nahi hai jo dikhayi diya gaya hai (There are no valid orders that are in circulation on social media)”.

The Governor was replying to questions about the orders floating on social media regarding storage of ration due to a possible law and order situation in the wake of alteration in the special status of the state.

The replies from the Governor seek to put to rest a week’s uncertainty that had been dogging the Valley especially after Centre had rushed 100 companies (10,000 security personnel) to the state.

“Kashmir is a place where if someone sneezes in Lal Chowk, the same incident is projected as a bomb blast at Raj Bhavan,” the Governor said.

The distance between Lal Chowk and Raj Bhavan is 10 kilometres.

“Many rumours float here on daily basis but please do not pay any heed to that. Everything is fine, everything is normal,” he said on the sidelines of a function at SKICC where he was addressing principals of Navodaya Vidyalaya.

Kashmir has been on the edge for the past week after the Centre decided to send additional Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPFs) to the Valley, giving rise to speculations that the BJP-led Union government might repeal Article 35-A of the Constitution. Out of these, 80 companies were pushed to the Valley while the remaining were sent to Jammu region.

While a Railway Protection Force (RPF) officer had issued an order asking the employees to stock up rations for four months in view of prediction of deteriorating law and order situation, the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Srinagar had directed five zonal SPs in the city to collect details of all the mosques and their management committees in their respective areas of jurisdiction and submit it immediately for onward submission to higher authorities.

The RPF officer was transferred on Monday, while the SSP said collecting information about mosques was a part of routine policing.

Reacting to the Governor’s statement, National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah demanded a CBI inquiry into the “fake orders” that had surfaced on social media over the past few days, leading to speculation that the Centre might be moving to scrap Article 35-A of the Constitution, which provides special rights of residency and jobs to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the state.

“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.

Addressing the principals, the Governor said corruption was rampant in the state but the “disease has not developed overnight”.

“It is a result of mistakes committed by past governments in Delhi, making people chief minister without contesting election or by rigging the polls, by declaring the winning candidates as losers. I consider the local leaders more guilty because they never spoke truth to the people,” he said.

Malik said the local politicians were “dream merchants” who first sold ‘azaadi’ and then ‘autonomy’ for Jammu and Kashmir to the people of the state.

“They would show such dreams to people…there was a time when my ‘shawl wala’ would ask me ‘would we get freedom?’ I told him you are already free and if you think freedom is going to Pakistan, go to the other side. Who is stopping you? There will be no freedom by breaking India,” the Governor said.

In a veiled reference to the National Conference, Malik said the leaders would “return from Delhi and address a gathering where they would display a green handkerchief to show that they have Pakistan’s support. Pakistan is unable to handle its own (country), what good will it do to you?” (With PTI inputs)

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