SRINAGAR: The sudden deployment of additional forces sparked panic in the valley, with speculation rife about the abrogation of Article 35A as the India enhanced military deployment at the Line of Control (LoC).
A day after India’s central government decision to dispatch an additional 28,000 paramilitary forces to the Valley, Army and Indian Air Force (IAF) were put on high alert in Jammu and Kashmir, which has led to speculations and tension in the state.
The IAF fighter aircraft have been patrolling over Kashmir since Thursday evening as part of the operational alert and sources said the steps have been taken in view of the increased troops’ induction.
Despite the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in New Delhi denying reports of deployment of additional 28,000 paramilitary troops in the state, they said, the government has pressed IAF aircraft, including C-17 heavy lift planes into service for rapid induction of paramilitary forces into the Valley. “Rashtriya Rifles and other regular units of army deployed on the LoC have been asked to be prepared for any eventuality,” sources added.
The sources quoting unnamed official reported that all major entry and exit points in the Srinagar city have been taken over by the Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPFs) with a token presence of local police.
Reacting to the development of IAF and Army being put on high alert, former Indian held Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “What ‘ongoing situation’ in Kashmir would require the army AND the Air Force to be put on alert? This isn’t about 35A or delimitation. This sort of alert, if actually issued, would be about something very different (sic).”
The sudden deployment of additional forces sparked panic in the Valley, with speculation rife about the abrogation of Article 35A. Residentsin Srinagar started panic-buying essentials on Friday as they link the deployment of forces to the apprehension of deterioration in the law and order situation. Earlier on July 25, the MHA had deployed 100 additional companies of CAPFs in Kashmir. The deployment came just days after National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval along with some top intelligence officials visited Kashmir to assess the ground situation.
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Governor Satya Pal Malik said that he never saw so many fighter jets fly and the number of Sukhois on standby in Srinagar because of the situation on the border.
Meanwhile, the United Nations appealed to India and Pakistan to exercise “maximum restraint” amid escalating tensions between the two countries along the Line of Control (LoC). “The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan observed and reported an increase in military activity at the Line of Control in recent days,” the UN Secretary-General’s Spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said in a statement e-mailed to APP’s UN correspondent in response to a question.
“The United Nations appeals to both sides to exercise maximum restraint to ensure that the situation does not further deteriorate,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, two civilians including a woman was injured as India violated the ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) by resorting to unprovoked firing on various forward villages close to this side of the LoC in Nikayal sector in Kotli district of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Saturday night, local police control room said. “Indian troops resorted to unprovoked firing targeting the forward villages of Tarkundi and Darooti in Nikayal Sector in Kotli district at about 9.00 Saturday night, injuring a 75-year-old local resident Muhammad Sadiq son of Paaris Ali and 18-year-old Jawairiya Ishrat, resident of Darooti,” In-charge officer of Police Control Room Kotli said over telephone on Sunday. “No loss of life or property was reported,” the police officials said. Injured were rushed to nearest hospital for medicare, he added.