Home Minister Amit Shah to visit J&K after August 7
Union Home Minister Amit Shah is likely to visit Jammu & Kashmir after the Parliament's Budget Session concludes on August 7. He will assess the situation amid turmoil following the J&K government's advisory to tourists and Amarnath pilgrims to leave Kashmir in view of terror threats. He's expected to stay in J&K for a few days and his itinerary is being prepared, said sources.
Shah to visit Jammu first and then leave for Kashmir
Shah would first visit Jammu before going to the Kashmir Valley, said sources. Interestingly, the reports of the Home Minister's visit come amid rumors that the Center would scrap Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution, which provide special status to J&K, later this month.
Government's security advisory triggers panic among locals, tourists
The J&K's government's security advisory to tourists and Amarnath Yatra pilgrims also triggered panic among the locals who rushed to shops, pharmacies, and ATMs to stock up on essentials. Scores of pilgrims and tourists left the Kashmir Valley following the government's announcement while many tourists, including foreigners, crowded the Srinagar airport on Saturday. Many of them didn't even have flight tickets, said reports.
No plan to scrap Article 35A: Governor Satya Pal Malik
Meanwhile, the J&K government's announcement also triggered fear among the state's politicians that the Center might abolish Article 35A that grants exclusive rights to the locals in government jobs and land. However, Governor Satya Pal Malik said there is no plan to scrap Article 35A.
Home Ministry order has scared citizens: Ghulam Nabi Azad
Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah, however, demanded the Center must issue a statement over the state's special status. Congress, meanwhile, slammed the Center for triggering panic in J&K, which is under the President's rule, with the "leave Kashmir" advisory. "The Home Ministry order has scared citizens. Tourists and pilgrims have never been asked to leave abruptly like this," Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
Government is trying to create an atmosphere of hate: Azad
"The advisory that was issued...is worrisome and people of the entire nation as well as of Jammu & Kashmir are scared," Azad said at a press conference. "The government is trying to create an atmosphere of hate, saying that Kashmir is unsafe for outsiders," he said. "We condemn this decision by the Government of India," the senior Congress leader added.