SRINAGAR: As the Supreme Court of India will pronounce its judgement on a batch of pleas challenging the abrogation of Article 370 on December 11, the people and politicians of Jammu and Kashmir are waiting for the “crucial moment” with hope, apprehensions and anxiety.
Meanwhile, the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have decided to enhance security measures across the Union territory ahead of the Supreme Court’s judgment on Monday. The police and other law-enforcing agencies in Ladakh, too, have been put on high alert, reports from Leh and Kargil said.
The official sources said that the J&K police and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) permanently standing guard at hundreds of pillboxes and sandbag bunkers in the cities and towns and those sent out on a daily basis for performing law and order duties will be joined by additional armed personnel to reinforce security and thwart off threats to peace.
Makeshift checkpoints and drop gates, in addition to the existing ones, are also being laid in select areas of Srinagar and Jammu, along with some other towns, the sources said.
The police and other law enforcement agencies are keeping a watch on the activities of the Opposition parties and their leaders and tracking the movements of former militants, stone-pelters and other potential troublemakers, a police official who spoke to this newspaper on the condition of anonymity said.
He, however, termed these measures a “routine exercise” carried out by the law-enforcing agencies to strengthen their grip over the ground situation at such times.
Former chief minister and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah on Saturday expressed apprehension that the Opposition leaders in the Kashmir Valley might be placed under house arrest ahead of the SC’s verdict on Article 370 petitions.
“They need an excuse to put us under house arrest and they have an excuse. As we are unaware of what the decision will be, so are they. If they know, then there should be an investigation,” he told the media in the southern Kulgam district.
The concerned police officials have been asked to track and monitor social media activities more vigorously in the coming days to ensure no attempts are made through them to encourage or stir up trouble. Following the security review meeting that additional director-general of police (law and order) Vijay Kumar presided over here on Friday, the police said that stringent actions will be taken against individuals involved in any misconduct or inappropriate use of social media.
Reacting to it, Iltija Mufti, daughter of and media advisor to former chief minister and People’s Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, in a post on X said, “Two days before SC declares its verdict on Article 370, JK police declares punitive action against those ‘indulging in mischief on social media’ & ‘breachers of peace’. Seems like they already know the verdict.”
The PDP chief said that the J&K administration has, through its latest actions, indicated that the verdict of the SC will only be to further the BJP’s agenda.
BJP’s J&K unit chief Ravinder Raina urged the Opposition parties, including the NC, the PDP, the Congress, the J&K People’s Conference and the Apni Party to “welcome the Supreme Court’s verdict with respect” when it comes.
He told the media here: “We all must respect the decisions of the courts. Ours is a democratic country where the rule of law prevails. Our judges are competent and impartial, able and fair. We have complete trust in them.”
At Friday’s security meeting, which was attended by Kashmir’s chief administration officer (divisional commissioner) Vijay Kumar Bidhuri, IGP V. K. Birdi, DIGs of all ranges, DIG (CID), SSP (Kashmir police control room) and Srinagar-based deputy director of the Intelligence Bureau, Mr Kumar was briefed on the prevailing law and order situation in the Valley and possible developments that may unfold following the verdict.
Mr Kumar asked the officers to maintain close watch on ground-situation and heighten vigil in potential problem areas.