Malik asks for calm, not to believe rumours
SRINAGAR, Aug 2: In a day of fast developments, a delegation of senior mainstream leaders led by former Chief Minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti called on Governor Satya Pal Malik at Raj Bhavan late this evening and briefed him about the prevailing situation in Kashmir.
Besides Mehbooba Mufti, the delegation comprised Peoples Conference chief Sajjad Lone and its senior leader Imran Raza Ansari, PUF leader Dr Shah Faesal and PDP leader Ghulam Nabi Hanjura. The delegation reached Raj Bhavan at around 10 pm and had a meeting with Governor which last nearly 20 minutes.
The delegation told the Governor that they had never seen such a panic among the locals as the fresh order advising Amarnath Yatris and the tourists to leave the Valley triggered wide-spread panic among the residents. They also cautioned the Governor that any decision to scrap Articles 370 or 35A would have serious consequences, sources privy to the meeting said.
They told the Governor that so many developments have taken place in the past few days which made the environment very scary. Through the Governor they requested the Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to do away with special status of Jammu and Kashmir, sources further said.
When asked about the response of the Governor about the present situation, one of the members of the delegation said, “the Governor stated that all decisions are aimed in the best interest of the State and there will be no tinkering with the special status”, adding “the Governor even told us that the advisory has been issued in view of threats of terrorist attacks and is not intended for any other purpose”.
Earlier, Mehbooba Mufti met National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah and discussed the prevailing situation in Kashmir. Abdullah, who is not feeling well, told Mehbooba that he is with her stand on the issue.
Immediately after meeting Farooq, she met Chairman of Peoples Conference and head of JKPM Shah Faisal and discussed the current situation with them.
Governor informed the delegation that there were serious and credible inputs which were available to the security agencies regarding terrorist attacks on the Amarnath Yatra. “There was a Press Conference today afternoon by the Corps Commander of the Army and the DGP in which details of the weapons and ammunition recovered was given. Details of the seriousness of the threats that are there were also given. They also mentioned that the security forces were going to tackle these threats head on and will not allow them to succeed”, he Governor said.
“It is in this context that the Government had issued an advisory asking Yatris and tourists to return as soon as possible. These are a vulnerable group of people who do not know the area and are extremely vulnerable to a terrorist or a fidayeen attack. It is the responsibility of the State to provide security to all its citizens. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, Yatris and tourists have been asked to return. This is to ensure that no terrorist attack takes place on them”, Governor further told the delegation.
“Unnecessary panic is being created by linking this to all kinds of other issues. A pure security measure is being mixed up with issues with which it has no connection. That is the cause of the panic. This has been clarified in the evening by the Home Secretary and the Divisional Commissioner”, Malik said.
Governor requested the political leaders to ask their supporters not to mix up matters, to maintain calm and not believe exaggerated rumours being circulated all around. “The Governor himself had clarified matters on Article 35A yesterday in Baramulla and the day before in Srinagar”, a statement issued by Raj Bhawan said.
Earlier, in a hurriedly organized press conference, Mehbooba said that there has never been such a panic in Kashmir since 1947. “I have not seen such a panicky situation in my life. There are rumors and we heard the statements of few leaders that they will be tinkering with the article 35A”, she said.
She further said, “there is sense of fear and panic among people of Kashmir. There have been so many developments happening here, which have created a sense of fear and panic; people are nervous, even the students studying outside are also worried. Here also, the situation is terrifying”.
“The additional deployment of forces is beyond logic if the Government is saying that militancy decreased, why additional forces, what for? What has added to the panic is the advisory that has been issued to the yatris and tourists asking them to leave Kashmir valley as soon as possible”, she said.
“I request the nation and Prime Minister Narender Modi that you have come with a huge mandate and J&K is the only State which in tough times has rejected the two-nation theory and joined hands with the secular and democratic nation on the conditions that our special identity will be secured and maintained, we have been given constitutional guarantee for that but today it seems that efforts are on to end those guarantees”, she said.
“I want to say to PM that you always talk about Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat with regard to J&K, you talk about winning the hearts of people, and if you really want that, then what is it that is happening around? You are asking yatris and tourists to leave Kashmir, but you are not worried about where will a common Kashmiri go. I believe that the people of our country do not want the land of Kashmir, but what the people of Kashmir. But the kind of environment that has been created around, it seems that Kashmir is all about an issue of the territory and nothing else”, she said.
Mehbooba further said that they are trying to attack the identity of people of the State who have given sacrifices for it. “Forces are here in lakhs; people here have given enormous sacrifices to safeguard the special status, identity of the State, we have graveyards, orphans everywhere, and if you will attack that very identity, it will be a grave injustice to the people of the State. The consequences will not be good if that happens. I am not giving out any threat, but we will have to think”, he added.
Sheikh Abdullah didn’t even look at Pakistan and joined the hands of secular India with conditions that the special status will be safeguarded. Mufti Sayeed used to say that if we will get anything, it has to come from India, she said.
She said it is not a regional war but fight for identity. “I want to tell the people of Jammu and Ladakh that we are not fighting any regional war; it is the fight of our survival and identity”, she said.
Malik asks for calm, not to believe rumours