Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Saturday reiterated that the situation in the state was normal, ANI reported. He also said that he was not informed of any changes in constitutional provisions and urged people to remain calm.
“Only rumour mongering is going on,” he told ANI. “It’s a very routine thing here. If you sneeze at Lal Chowk, it becomes an explosion when it comes here. Unnecessary panic is being created by vested interests, specially some political parties.”
“I’ve talked to everybody in Delhi and nobody has given me any hint that we’ll do this or that,” Malik added. “Somebody’s saying there’ll be trifurcation, somebody says [changes in] Article 35A, 370.” Neither the prime minister nor the home minister have discussed these things with him, he said, adding that if there were any changes, they would be made publicly and not secretly.
The situation in the Valley has been tense since the state government issued an unprecedented advisory asking Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and other tourists in the state to cut short their stay in the Valley after intelligence inputs said there were “specific terror threats”. The government also suspended the Machail Yatra in Kishtwar district because of security concerns. There is also a growing uneasiness in the Valley over increased deployment of troops, which triggered speculation in the region about a major change in the offing.
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday claimed that leaders from Opposition parties such as the National Conference, the Peoples Democratic Party and the Congress were deliberately trying to create panic.
State BJP President Ravinder Raina said all Indians were safe under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, PTI reported. “Some politicians in the valley are knocking the door of the Governor [Satya Pal Malik] in the dead of night because they are frightened,” Raina said after chairing a core BJP group meeting in Jammu on Saturday.
He was purportedly referring to a delegation of leaders from the Peoples Democratic Party, the Peoples Conference and the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement, who met Malik on Friday night, urging him to dispel the rampant rumours in the state. Malik had told the delegation to “maintain calm” and not believe rumours.
“The common man has no fear and under the leadership of Modi, every common citizen is safe in the country,” Raina said. “After AB Vajpayee, he [Modi] is the only prime minister who is applying balm on the wounds of the people and we should have full faith in him and his government. Every decision this government takes with regard to Jammu and Kashmir will be in the interest of the people of all the three regions of Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir and the country.”
The National Conference, Congress and PDP were spreading rumours and creating fear in people’s minds, Raina said. “The governor had also made it clear that those who are corrupt cannot save themselves. Those who have ill intentions, involved in betrayal and looted the money of poor people and filled their coffers are a worried lot.”
Earlier on Saturday, the Congress had demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi make a statement on the situation. The party had also claimed that the central government was spreading fear and hatred with its advisory. “In the past it has never happened where such an advisory was issued where tourists are being called back,” senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah met the governor at Raj Bhavan in Srinagar on Saturday morning. Abdullah said the governor “was not the final word on Jammu and Kashmir” and asked the Centre to issue a clarification on the matter.
“We also asked him about rumours of Article 35A and Article 370 being removed and about delimitation and even trifurcation... to which he assured that no such thing is happening,” Abdullah added.
Article 35A grants special rights and privileges pertaining to jobs, and property ownership, among other things, to those defined as “permanent residents” of the state, while Article 370 of the Constitution grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir and limits Parliament’s power to make laws concerning the state.