Two leaked advisories have created fresh anxiety in the Kashmir valley where the lockdown-ridden people are predicting hot summer, even as the administration is terming the couple of circulars as the usual governance documents.
Srinagar: For the day, many Kashmiris alerted by a couple of uncanny, if not unseasonal, advisories were wondering: Have coming events started cast their shadow in the valley once again?
Speculations trailed by a signature sense of panic triggered after the two advisories called for fuel stockpiling and sheltering of the incoming troops in school campuses.
Subject of one of the orders dated June 27, 2020 reads: “Storage of adequate LPG stocks in the valley to avoid any sort of shortage during closure of National Highway”.
The order was passed by an Lt Governor Girish Chandra Murmu’s advisor in a meeting held on June 23, 2020.
Although the order attributed the stockpiling to “frequent landslides”, many in Kashmir wondered—why should such an order come during summers when the only surface link connecting the valley to the rest of the world largely remains trouble-free.
“Had this advisory come during winters when the valley remains hostage of the fair-weather highway, it would’ve make sense,” said Shafqat Khan, a banker. “These sudden advisories do create a cyclic fear and panic about some big event in Kashmir.”
Another advisory is seeking clearance of educational campuses in Ganderbal for makeshift barracks of the incoming troops.
“In view of SANJY-2020 (Shri Amarnathji Yatra), and due to dearth of accommodation facilities in District Ganderbal for incoming CAPF Coys, it is requested that the … accommodation centres/education institutes may kindly be made available for accommodation of CAPF Coys during the period of SANJY-2020,” the order reads.
But despite the twin advisories making headlines, the administration is denying any ‘big’ event associated with them.
“If anything is there, Administration will definitely share with all,” PK Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, told Kashmir Observer.
“Both the matter has different context. It has nothing to do with any border tension even remotely. It is like misinterpretation and arriving at stretched meaning.”
Even as the administration is terming these orders as a normal part of governance, many tend to see some stark shades of the previous summer in them. “And we know,” said a netizen, “what you did last summer in Kashmir.”
A slew of alarming circulars calling for troop buildup and medical emergency had created speculative airs, unsettled unionist camp and dramatic evacuation of non-locals in the valley last year.
Before J&K’s semi-autonomous status would be scraped, the then Governor Satya Pal Malik had resorted to his ‘all is well’ stance, telling everyone that they should not pay heed to the rumours by one after another advisories.
“In the face of those advisories, even someone like Omar Abdullah said with a straight face during a press conference, ‘the call lies with the centre’,” said Mushtaq Aziz, a Srinagar-based commentator.
“After creating medical emergency and campus desolation, those advisories triggered mass hysteria and panic-buying in the valley.”
The news of around 38,000 additional troops followed by sudden suspension of Amarnath Yatra due to some ‘terror threats’ and evacuation of non-Kashmiri students kept Kashmir on the edge.
“It was one heck of a time,” Aziz continued. “Army and air force were put on a standby mode and SRTC buses were allotted to ferry non-local students and tourists out of the valley. Even international media couldn’t get it.”
As the panic peaked, the local trade body termed it “Operation Bedlam”.
These orders, it said, did irreversible damage to economy, a breakdown is imminent.
“Now these two advisories coming when China is threatening Ladakh do make the commoner in Kashmir paranoid about the coming time,” said Aziz. “They can be usual governance orders, but their timing is indeed alarming.”
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.