State / J&K Governor appeals for calm, remains silent on Article 35A

The Hindu : Feb 24, 2019, 05:10 PM

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday appealed for calm in the State but remained silent on the State's defence of Article 35A, to be heard by the Supreme Court in the coming week. Meanwhile, a shutdown was observed across the Valley over the arrest spree and Article 35A.

The Governor appealed to the people of the State "to stay calm" and "not believe any rumours," in a statement issued by the administration. "There is some security related action being taken by the forces, but this is purely related to the Pulwama attack, which was 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," it said.

Earlier, Governor Malik had called an informal meeting of the State Administrative Council "to review the current situation in the State, in the context of the terror attack in Pulwama last week and the subsequent developments". The meeting was attended by all advisors, and Chief Secretary B. V. R Subrahmanyam.

Allaying fears on troop mobilisation of around 100 companies, the administration informed that general elections required additional security forces. "During the panchayat elections, over 400 additional companies of Central police forces were provided. After the Pulwama incident, the security concerns in this regard are much higher with the possibility of terrorist organisations increasing their activities against candidates and voters on a much larger scale," said the government spokesperson.

On shortage of essentials like LPG and petrol, the administration said 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," said the government.

The Governor has also assured the safety of Kashmiri students studying outside the State. "Over 22,000 Kashmiri students are studying outside the State and the number of students who have actually been injured or hurt in incidents are not even in single digits," said the Governor's administration.

However, the Governor, during the State Administrative Council meeting, neither discussed Article 35A defining State subjects, nor issued any statement over the issue. The petitions challenging the Article are likely to be heard before the SC in the coming week.

Meanwhile, a shutdown was observed in Kashmir over detention of around 150 separatist and Jamaat-e-Islami activists in the past two days and Article 35A. The shutdown call was issued by Hurriyat.