Srinagar, Aug 03 : Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC) on Saturday took note of the heightened concerns in public mind currently being expressed about the unprecedented deployment of paramilitary forces in the Valley, followed by an advisory from the State Government to all the yatries and tourists visiting the Kashmir valley, to cut short their stay and take all possible steps to leave the valley as soon as possible, in the light of ‘heightened perceptions of threat to their lives’.
Students of a national level educational institution have been evacuated, fuelling further speculations, the group comprising civil society members across communities and regions, including jurists, former civil servants academicians, journalists, businessmen and social activists said in a statement issued to KNO.
“Surprisingly, the advisory has been issued at time, when the holy Yatra, which has been peaceful so far, and without any mishaps, whatsoever, is about to end,” the GCC said.
The statement added that quite obviously, these developments have give rise to apprehensions in the people’s minds about the possibility of abrogation of Article 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, which has become imminent, in the context of authoritative statements issued by the BJP leadership, demonizing the Kashmiris, as a whole.
“Irrespective of whether such concerns are well founded or not, these are reason enough to agitate the public mind. These apprehensions have risen to an alarming level, mostly through the social media. The State administration has taken an unduly long time in responding to such statements and terming these as baseless rumours. The central government is absolutely silent and is not clarifying the reasons for troop mobilization to reassure the public,” the statement added.
At a time when the Yatra is about to close, bringing in hopes of de-induction for the ensuing period, the additional unprecedented deployment, coupled with the advisory calling upon the yatris and the tourists to leave, appears to be paradoxical. The pilgrimage has remained undisturbed in the far more turbulent times in the nineties and during the hugely tumultuous agitations in recent years, it further reads.
“The response from the state government response, to say the least, is too little and too late,” GCC said.
In the circumstances, GCC demanded the State Government to be sensitive to the apprehensions of people and clear the air in this regard, and ensure an institutional arrangement for conveying authentic information, from time to time, to the people, to discourage rumour mongering.
GCC also advised people to stay vigilant about their environment and move towards a constructive future, without giving credence to unverified rumours. “In particular, it has to be ensured that people’s response to provocative situations like the one prevailing today, is duly calibrated, winning the sympathy of the right thinking compatriots, in the country, and taking all possible steps to ensure continuity of the educational and healthcare institutions and safeguarding the livelihood of the toiling masses,” GCC added. (KNS)