- Amarnath pilgrims asked to leave J&K "immediately" over terror threat
- Reports of security buildup; J&K politicians fear end of Article 35A, 370
- Governor says "Unnecessary panic being created, don't believe rumours"
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Friday evening asked a delegation of Jammu and Kashmir politicians to "maintain calm and not believe rumours" that are circulating in the Kashmir Valley since an advisory by the government asked Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and tourists to cut short their stay and leave amid intelligence inputs of terror threats.
A team of politicians comprising former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, Shah Faesal, Sajjad Lone and Imran Ansari had approached the governor for a meeting over the "panic" in the Valley.
The governor informed the delegation that there were serious and credible inputs regarding terrorist attacks on the Amarnath Yatra, a statement by the governor's office said late Friday.
"Unnecessary panic is being created by linking this to all kinds of other issues. A pure security measure is being mixed up with issues with which it has no connection. That is the cause of the panic," the statement added.
Politicians in Jammu and Kashmir across party lines expressed concern over the turmoil in the state and speculation over impending decisions regarding the state's special status promised in the constitution.
Many of them feared that the centre may have plans to do away with Article 35A of the Constitution, which gives exclusive rights to the state's residents in government jobs and land. Such speculation has dominated the discourse in Kashmir over the past few days fuelled by thousands of additional central paramilitary personnel being flown in.
Charging that there was "an attempt to end the constitutional guarantees" promised to Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said New Delhi seemed to be preparing "to rob" the people of the state of "whatever little is left to protect their unique identity".
Her outburst came after an unprecedented advisory asking Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and tourists to "immediately" leave Kashmir Valley. The order set off panic in Srinagar, where people rushed to ATMs, petrol stations and medicine stores to stock up. Some waited for hours in queues only to find that fuel was over.
The advisory for pilgrims and tourists was put out barely half-an-hour after the army and the Jammu and Kashmir police displayed a landmine and a sniper rifle to reporters, saying there were "confirmed intelligence reports" that terrorists backed by the Pakistan army were trying to disrupt the Amarnath Yatra.