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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Jammu and Kashmir normal, don’t heed rumours: Governor Satya Pal Malik

Governor’s reference was to buzz that the revocation of Article 35A that gives special privileges to permanent residents of the state is imminent.

india Updated: Jul 31, 2019 00:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Srinagar
Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik.
Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik.(HT Photo)
         

Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik on Tuesday asked people not to pay any heed to rumours of an impending major decision on the special status of the state.

His reference was to buzz that the revocation of Article 35A that gives special privileges to permanent residents of the state is imminent.

Over the past week, every move by the Centre has been seen as a precursor to the revocation of 35A. Over the weekend, it was the deployment of security forces, and a note by a railway security officer on stockpiling rations. On Monday, it was an internal police department memo asking superintendents of police (SPs) to provide details of mosques in their locality.

“A lot of rumours are spread here. Do not pay any heed to them. Everything is fine, everything is normal,” Malik said in response to a query by reporters. The Centre has said the deployment of security personnel is normal; the railway protection force has clarified that the officer who issued this order was not authorised to do so, and the police have described the memo as routine.

Malik, without mentioning the Railway Police Officer’s order but presumably referring to it, said such orders were invalid.

The state is currently under President’s rule.

The revocation of Article 35A and Article 370 [which grants special status to J&K] is one of the promises listed in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto for the April-May Parliamentary elections which saw the party return to power with 303 seats out of 543 in the Lok Sabha.

The central government on Saturday ordered the deployment of 100 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) on an “immediate” basis. One CAPF company comprises about 100 personnel.

The next day, an order from a senior Railway Protection Force official to his subordinates telling them how to respond to the situation in case it turns violent and the action which railways staff require to take — stocking rations for at least four months; sending families back home — was circulated on social media.

Later in the evening, a senior railway official issued a clarification saying that the issuing authority was on a year’s study leave (from last week) and “the next in line issued the letter...” and that this person “is not authorized to issue any such letter.’’

On Monday, the J&K police issued an order seeking details on mosques and their management committees.

Meanwhile, separatists in the Kashmir Valley have accused the Centre of deliberately vitiating the situation by issuing “daily orders”.

“Concerned by Govt orders being circulated daily to create alarm among people, after the deployment of more forces. Any move against our places of worship and religious matters will be resisted strongly by all Muslims across the state. Do not deliberately vitiate the situation,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate faction of the All Party Hurriyat Conference, tweeted on Tuesday.

They have also criticised the government for sending 10,000 troops to the Kashmir Valley in order to strengthen counter-insurgency operations and law and order duties.

Criticising the move, the Hurriyat faction led by hardliner Syed Ali Geelani, said in a statement on Tuesday, “Concentrating the already saturated piece of land with more armed forces is creating war hysteria and panic in length and breadth of the state....”

J&K police on Tuesday claimed to have killed a top Jaish commander who according to police was responsible for the killing of Station House Officer, Anantnag and five CRPF personnel in south Kashmir in June.

Jaish commander has been identified as Fayaz Panzoo who was active in south Kashmir.

This year, the security forces have so far killed 129 militants, while 75 security force personnel have also been killed in retaliation including 40 CRPF jawans on February 14 Pulwama attack.

The uncertainty in the valley has prompted People’s Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday to reach out to Peoples Conference leaders Sajjad Lone and Imran Reza Ansari, a day after she urged National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah to convene an all-party meeting to discuss the developments in the Valley.

“Spoke to heads of J&K mainstream parties including my former colleague’s @sajadlone & @imranrezaansari regarding emerging developments in the state. There is a growing consensus that the present situation demands recalibration of response & a united approach,’’ tweeted Mufti.

First Published: Jul 31, 2019 00:54 IST

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