Srinagar: Jammu & Kashmir administration on Friday issued an advisory to tourists and pilgrims of Amarnath Yatra to leave the state immediately due to a security threat. This created confusion and panic in the state as the administration initially claimed to have received “multiple intelligence reports” about a possible attack on the pilgrims, but the Army commander and DGP Dilbagh Singh were quick to hold a press conference and announce that they had thwarted the terror plot and claimed that the situation was “normal.”
What followed immediately after was another announcement by the state home commissioner Shaleen Kabra, who issued an advisory to the tourists and pilgrims, asking them to leave Kashmir as soon as possible.
Official sources told The Sunday Guardian that such a prompt and massive amount of intelligence regarding a possible terror attack has never been received before and nobody from the Raj Bhawan to the state’s Chief Secretary are ready to take any responsibility for any sorts of delay in relaying the information.
Official sources also said that some senior officers had advised Kabra not to issue the advisory, but he went ahead with it. As a result of the widespread confusion, all security officers were confounded due to contradicting instructions and many politicians were asked to remain at home, including Farooq Abdullah.
The state government also arranged buses to be sent to hotels in Sonmarg and Pahalgam to shift out the tourists.
People in Srinagar have started stocking rations and emergency supplies of necessities as the valley is rife with rumours of an unrest that would last for months. This is for the first time in the history of Kashmir that the government has curtailed Amarnath yatra and has asked the pilgrims to move out of Kashmir as soon as possible.
Although on Saturday educational institutions remained open, government vehicles were spotted moving out students from NIT Hazratbal. NIT administration issued a statement that they received instructions from the district administration to suspend classes.
State DGP Dilbagh Singh told this newspaper, that they had received inputs about a major terror strike and the decision to curtail the Yatra was taken. It is baffling for the common people to comprehend this threat as the state administration, a few weeks ago, had launched programmes like “Back to Village” etc.
On 25 July, Union Home Ministry decided to send 10,000 troops to Kashmir which was followed by another 28,000. Reports said that more and more troops were being rushed to Kashmir with no apparent reason for such a massive security build up. The state police also recently sent out messages to keep their stocks of riot control equipment and satellite phones ready.
Governor Satya Pal Malik told media that everything was normal in Kashmir and some mainstream political parties were spreading rumours for their own survival. He even called all the official communications which went viral on social media as “invalid orders”.