Jammu and Kashmir Policy Planning Group of the Congress Party, which is headed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, asked the central government on Friday not to take any decisions that would “precipitate a deep crisis” in the state. The Congress added that the Centre may scrap Articles 35-A and 370 of the Constitution, giving special status to the state, The Hindu reported.
“There was deep concern at the continuous reports emanating from both the Union Home Ministry and the State government which were creating an atmosphere of panic,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is part of the group, was quoted as saying. The deployment of troops in the Valley, advisory to cut short the Amarnath Yatra, and “unprecedented advisories” were adding to the fear and turmoil in the state, he added.
The group, which includes former Union ministers Azad, P Chidambaram, Ambika Soni and Dr Karan Singh, among others, urged the Centre to maintain the special status provided to the state.
On Friday, the Jammu and Kashmir government asked pilgrims of the annual Amarnath Yatra and other tourists in the state to cut short their stay in the Valley due to “intelligence inputs of terror threats”. A joint press conference by the Indian Army and the Jammu and Kashmir Police confirmed that there were specific reports of possible terror attacks on the pilgrims, adding that certain weapons had also been recovered along the route of the pilgrimage.
The order created panic in the state with political leaders criticising the government order for not taking local residents into consideration. While former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday asked if the lives of local residents of Jammu and Kashmir mattered to the government, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement chairperson Shah Faesal asked if the state government was going to issue a similar advisory for locals.