JAMMU — In a bid to end the simmering ‘war hysteria’ in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in the valley, Governor Satya Pal Malik Sunday appealed that people should remain calm and not believe in rumours “circulating widely” to vitiate the atmosphere.
He also clarified that the induction of para-military forces should only be seen in the context of conducting elections and should not be attributed to any other cause.
“People should not believe in rumours, which are of extreme nature and circulating widely in some quarters. They should remain calm. These rumours are unnecessarily creating an atmosphere of fear in the minds of people, leading to stress and disruption to normal life. Rumours about curfews and other actions should not be believed,” the governor said in his appeal.
He said “some security-related actions” were being taken after the February 14 Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives when a terrorist of Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group blew himself next to a convoy.
“This attack was an unprecedented one. The response of security forces is guided solely by the need to counter both the impact and any further action that may be taken by terrorist groups who are still out to disrupt our country and its democratic processes,” he said.
The statement from the governor came after the state administration issued many orders including supplying ration at the earliest, cancelling leave of doctors and policemen, rationing of petrol to the general public, leading to a war hysteria. The widespread arrests of Jamaat-e-Islami cadres and separatists contributed to these rumours.
The flying of IAF jets in dead hours of the night in Kashmir Valley also added to these fears despite the IAF maintaining it was a routine exercise.
The governor also addressed the issue of safety and security of Kashmiris residing outside the state. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given clear directions to the country Saturday that there is no fight against Kashmiris but that it is a fight for Kashmir.
This is a clear signal that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are not only integral part of India but it is the responsibility of the country to take care of their safety wherever they may be, he said.
“Over 22,000 Kashmiri students are studying outside the state and the number of students who have actually been injured or hurt in incidents is not even in single digits....the exaggerated reporting has led to unnecessary excessive reactions in the Kashmir Valley,” he said.
The governor said it was necessary for everyone to avoid fear-mongering and not to worsen matters.
He also re-assured all government employees and their families, who stay in Jammu, that their safety and security was of primary importance.
Ahead of the appeal, the governor chaired an informal meeting of the State Administrative Council (SAC) here to review the current situation in the state, particularly in the context of the terror attack in Pulwama on February 14 and the subsequent developments, an official spokesman said.
In the meeting, Malik was briefed about the current security situation in Jammu city after the lifting of the curfew a few days ago and also the restoration of normalcy in the place.
After the Pulwama incident, an official spokesman said, security concerns are much higher with the possibility of terrorist organisations increasing their activities against candidates and voters on a much larger scale.
“Normally, forces are inducted a month before elections so that they settle down and familiarise with the ground situation. It is in this context that 100 companies of central forces are being inducted into the state at the moment. This is less than the actual additional forces required and more would be inducted in the coming weeks,” he said.
The spokesman said the SAC was also informed that the supply situation of petroleum and other products in the Kashmir Valley is critically low.
“The availability of petrol in the Kashmir Valley is adequate to meet the needs for just one day and that of diesel for four days. There is no stock of LPG in the Kashmir Valley. This is a result of the earlier blockage of the national highway for seven days and the ongoing blockage for the past four days, leading to disruption of supplies from Jammu to Srinagar,” he said.
As a precautionary measure, the Kashmir divisional commissioner has rationed petrol and diesel supply to conserve whatever is available for emergency purposes.
“Steps are being taken to increase the availability of stocks in the Kashmir Valley. People of the state should not read anything more into this but see it only as an administrative measure in a shortage situation,” the spokesman said.
“On the medicine front also, the instructions to hospitals to increase availability of medicines is also to be seen in the context of shortage of supplies as a result of the prolonged disruption in transport,” he said.