Uncertainty grips in Indiam Adminstrated Kashmir

Troop deployment a security issue, Governor Satya Pal Malik tells National Conference delegation.

Governor of Indian Adminstrated Kashmir Satya Pal Malik on Saturday said he had “no knowledge of any constitutional changes being made in Jammu and Kashmir”, there was no let-up in the implementation of fresh security orders, adding to the uncertainty. Meanwhile, Pakistan made fresh bids to attack forward posts in the State, according to the Army.

The State has no knowledge of any changes to constitutional provisions,” Mr. Malik told a National Conference (NC) delegation, led by its vice-president Omar Abdullah, in Srinagar. ““A pure security measure is being mixed up with

issues with which it has no connection,” he asserted.

On the evacuation of pilgrims and tourists, Mr. Malik said they were vulnerable groups in case of any terrorist or fidayeen attack

Mr. Abdullah said Mr. Malik “assured him that there was no initiative in progress to remove Article 35A, start delimitation or trifurcate J&K.” “However, the Centre needs to assure people of the State on the floor of Parliament,” he said.

“Kashmir is in a grip of panic. No one has a clue why such security measures are being taken,” said Mr. Abdullah.

Police sources said satellite phones and closed group mobile phone sets were distributed in central, north and south Kashmir among the security officials to deal with the law and order situation in case of downing the entire communications network in J&K.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army said a number of attempts were made by the Pakistan Army to attack forward posts and disturb peace in J&K in the past 36 hours. “An attack of Pakistan’s Border Action Team on a forward post was foiled in Kupwara’s Keran Sector, which left five to seven Pakistan Army regulars or terrorists dead. The Army will continue to foil Pakistan’s nefarious designs,” said an Indian Army’s spokesman.

The Indian Army also said it had killed four Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants in encounters in Shopian and Sopore.

Meanwhile, in the wake of a travel advisory to leave, hundreds of pilgrims, tourists and even students of the National Institute of Technology (NIT) decided to flee the Valley.

In another move, hundreds of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel were stationed in civilian installations like government hostels, degree colleges and government buildings in the Valley. The local police stations were augmented with fresh troops from the outside, said a top police official.

One of Kashmir’s main hospitals, the Bones and Joint Hospital, directed employees not to leave station “in view of prevailing situation”.

Owners of petrol pumps in Srinagar asked the government to provide security cover as locals swarmed the filling stations in Srinagar.

“Petrol pumps, ATMs and shops are running dry due to panic,” said a spokesman for the Valley’s top traders’ body, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “A breakdown of the economy is also imminent,” he added.

‘Machail Mata Yatra’ suspended
The 43-day long Machail yatra in the Chenab valley’s Kishtwar was also stopped. “It was suspended due to security reasons,” Deputy Commissioner, Kishtwar, Angrez Singh Rana said. The yatra had commenced on July 25.

Meanwhile, the Army said Pakistan also violated ceasefire in Poonch’s Mendhar Sector. “Pakistan used small arms and shelled from mortars at 8:15 p.m. The Army is giving befitting reply,” said the Army spokeman.

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