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  India   All India  24 Feb 2019  War rumours leads to panic buying of essentials in J&K

War rumours leads to panic buying of essentials in J&K

THE ASIAN AGE. | YUSUF JAMEEL
Published : Feb 24, 2019, 7:50 am IST
Updated : Feb 24, 2019, 7:50 am IST

Extra long queues could be seen also at the automated teller machines (ATMs) across Srinagar and other major towns of the Valley.

Coffins lie at the CRPF camp in Budgam on February 15 (Photo: PTI)
 Coffins lie at the CRPF camp in Budgam on February 15 (Photo: PTI)

Srinagar: The police crackdown on separatists and airlifting of more than eleven thousand Central armed forces personnel to Srinagar from Delhi overnight set off a variety of rumours in the Kashmir Valley and a resultant panic buying of essentials.

The rumours that filled the air spoke about breaking out of active hostilities between India and Pakistan and imminent repeal of Article 35A of the Constitution either by a Supreme Court ruling or through a Presidential ordinance.

 

Yet another rumour mentioned about “death” of prominent separatist leader Shabir Ahmed Shah who is lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail for the past 22 months. Incidentally, a Delhi court on Saturday deferred the hearing on the bail plea of Mr. Shah, arrested in a decade-old money laundering case, till April 2.

Amid these rumours, the marketplaces were hit by panic buying and soon shelves were stripped of essentials.

Extra long queues could be seen also at the automated teller machines (ATMs) across Srinagar and other major towns of the Valley.

Some parts of Srinagar including civil lines area witnessed a partial shutdown against the arrest of dozens of separatists leaders and workers, mainly those belonging to Jamaat-e-Islami, and that of pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Muhammad Yasin Malik.      

 

Meanwhile, various separatist organizations and also some mainstream parties and their leaders have criticized the government over the police crackdown on separatists, saying it could instead of easing tensions in the Valley aggravate the situation on ground.

Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti questioned the legality of the crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and others, saying the “arbitrary” move will only “precipitate matters”. She tweeted, “In the past 24 hours, Hurriyat leaders & workers of Jamaat organisation have been arrested. Fail to understand such an arbitrary move which will only precipitate matters in Jammu & Kashmir.”

 

She then asked, “Under what legal grounds are their arrests justified? You can imprison a person but not his ideas”.

Peoples’ Conference leader and BJP ally Sajad Gani Lone wrote on micro-blogging site “Gov seems to be on an arrest spree. Just a word of caution. Large scale arrests took place in 1990. Leaders were ferried to Jodhpur and many jails across the country. Things worsened. This is a tried tested and failed model. Please desist from it. It won’t work. Things will worsen.”

Separatist leader and Kashmir’s chief Muslim cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also took to Twitter.com to denounce the move. He said, “Strongly Condemn the nocturnal crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami leadership and cadres and the arrest of Yasin Malik. Such illegal and coercive measures against Kashmiri’s are futile and will not change realities on ground. Force and intimidation will only worsen the situation”.

 

‘Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL)’, an alliance of key separatist leaders, said that “arbitrary” arrest of Mr. Malik and the mass crackdown on the Jamaat leaders and activists appeared to be “not only part of the continued policy of suppression of pro self-determination leadership and narrative, but in the case of hearing of Article 35A in Indian Supreme Court most likely on Monday, an indication of what may be expected”.

“The deployment of additional 12,000 paramilitary forces on an urgent basis also indicates that something is cooking in this regard,” a statement issued by it said. It called for a general strike in Kashmir against the arrests and possible tinkering of Article 35A on Sunday.

 

CPIM leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami while reacting to the police crackdown on separatists said, “It won’t solve the problem we are faced with in Kashmir. Rather it can aggravate the situation on the ground.” He added, such arrests and crackdowns have taken place in the past also “but our experience tells us that such moves failed to open the way forward or help towards bringing about peace and tranquillity in the State.”

Former lawmaker and leader of Awami Itehad Party (AIP) Engineer Rashid in his reaction appealed the Centre “to stop terrorising Kashmiris and understand the fact that they are not enemies of India but simply want political dispute to be resolved for a permanent peace in the entire sub-continent”. He said, “By trying to silence the genuine political voices New Delhi is only pushing Kashmiris to the wall. Such harsh measures will add further anger and disappointment among the masses”.

 

Tags: kashmir valley, supreme court
Location: India, Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar