Last week, in a surprise move the Centre rushed 100 companies (nearly 9, 000 men) of the additional Central Armed Police force to J&K. The new forces started arriving at a time when the 46-day long annual Hindu pilgrimage Amarnath yatra is coming to an end in the next fortnight.
There are already over 30,000 additional forces deployed in J&K to ensure peaceful yatra that began on July 1 and the additional deployment has added weight to the rumours that New Delhi was to take a major political decision on the conclusion of Yatra.
While fear is gripping the Valley over rumours that the Centre may abrogate Article 35A- which gives protection to the state subject law of the state and it was the reason the administration was gearing up to handle any emerging law and order situation.
Incidentally, the deployment of additional forces was made days after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval returned from the Valley after a two-day visit- wherein he chaired a series of high-level security meetings. While the government is silent as to what exactly was happening and is trying to tell that “all is well”, a series of government orders that surfaced on social media created more panic in the region.
The railway authorities in Kashmir on July 27 issued an advisory asking staff to start stocking essentials in a bid to deal with longer period of law and order problem. The order also stated that railway staff should not allow mobs near railway installations besides urging them to store drinking water for at least seven days.
The purported order asked the railways staff to take precautionary measure and purchase at least four months’ dry ration in advance to meet any crisis situation, besides asking the staff to keep their Pitthu bags ready with sufficient amounts of eatables, drinking water, chocolates, money etc for emergency purpose.
As the advisory created panic, the railways on July 28 issued a clarification saying that the directions are "without any basis" and "not authorised".
More such orders by J&K police have also been issued which hint at a law and order problem in coming days. While there is panic, the J&K government is silent.
National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah has questioned the state government’s silence as official orders were “forecasting of deterioration in the law and order environment.”
“It’s easy to blame the Valley residents for fear-mongering but what are we to make of such official orders which forecast a deterioration in the law and order environment and even predicts disturbances lasting for an extended period of time?” he wrote on Twitter.
While Kashmiri separatists who are facing a massive crackdown have yet to speak on the strategy to be adopted if article 35A is abrogated, the mainstream politicians have been open in stating that it will be akin to setting fire to a powder keg.
Former Chief Minister and People’s Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti in fact on Sunday warned New Delhi of serious consequences and bloodbath if it fiddles with the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. She said her party is bracing for a major showdown against the Centre over article 35 A.
“Touching the Article 35 A would be akin to setting a powder keg on fire. The hands that are raised raise to tamper the 35A will not only burn, but the whole body will burn to ashes,” Mehbooba said while addressing a function to celebrate the Party's 20th raising day on Sunday.
IAS turned politician Shah Faesal asked politicians in J&K to get united to fight safeguarding the special status of the state.
With confusion prevailing and no clarity from the government, Kashmir continues to remain on edge and all are keeping their fingers crossed over how Narendra Modi led government will handle the Kashmir issue which has brought India and Pakistan to war many times.