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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Omar says timing of nuke advisory wrong

Peerzada Ashiq , Hindustan Times   Srinagar, January 23, 2013
First Published: 17:21 IST(23/1/2013) | Last Updated: 17:30 IST(23/1/2013)

The state government's nuclear and biological warfare advisory for people of Kashmir has raised alarm bells among the civil society across the globe, triggering a signature campaign demanding withdrawal of nuke war preventive exercises.

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The Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP), a New Delhi-based civil society group, on Wednesday described the exercise of nuke war sensitisation as "sickening reminder of the pathology of the Cold War, when a nuclear exchange was considered worth fighting and even winnable."

"We know that no civil defence is possible when it comes to nuclear weapons. Hence, the advisory is clearly misleading and frightening at the same time. We demand that the J&K police withdraw its misleading advisory," said CNDP online petition titled 'Stop the wardrums, revoke the nuclear war advisory in Kashmir.'

Several known civil society members mainly from India and Pakistan have signed the petition.

Two days ago, the state police issued dos and don'ts in case of nuclear, biological and chemical warfare through newspapers in the state. It advised people to construct basements with toilets, stock non-perishable food for items for fortnight and use carbon paper on window panes.

It set an elaborate ground rules on how to behave in case of radiations and immediate impact of chemical bombs.

The police, however, ruled out any connection between the recent skirmishes between India and Pakistan, which left five soldiers dead, at the Line of Control (LoC) and the advisory.

Facing criticism for launching such campaigns at an inappropriate time, chief minister Omar Abdullah clarified on micro-blogging site Twitter. "...it was still a bad idea especially in terms of the timing and recent events on the LoC.

The advisory has raised alarm bells among the people here. "Such advisories could be issued only if the government thinks such warfare was possible and inevitable. The government should clear the air and come up with a statement on possibilities of such wars in the region," said Amir Ahmad, a student of Kashmir University.

Many see the advisory as warmongering. "The war-drums between India and Pakistan have touched insane proportions with the Kashmir police issuing a citizens advisory in the possible event of a nuclear war. It is absurdly cruel to push millions of people to the brink of such nuclear insanity," said Kumar Sundaram, editor of DiaNuke.org website.

The civil society groups are demanding "just peace between India and Pakistan and immediate reversal of the escalation between two nuclear neighbours".

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