For the past two months, a “blanket of peace” covered the conflict-riddle Kashmir as the pilgrims went about with their Amarnath Yatra. The people of the valley went out of their way to make sure that there was peace and no sense of danger or upheavals contrary to what has been reported by the mainstream media.
Now, there is a sense of panic and uncertainty in Kashmir with the Centre ordering 10,000 additional troops to the valley to strengthen counter-insurgency operations and to maintain the law and order situation. The common Kashmir people are questioning the “need” for this additional troops as about “20,000 additional troops” had been deployed earlier to secure the Amarnath Yatra. There are checkpoints and speed beakers at nearly junction for the security of pilgrims. Moreover, movement on the highway for the common Kashmir’s had been “halted temporarily” to accommodate the free flow of the yatris. The security detail involves escorting the pilgrims from their base camps to the Amarnath shrine and their return.
What is the need for the additional 10,000 troops? For the past couple of days, the common men in panic that the Centre would abrogate Article 35-A overnight. The Centre has made it clear that Article 35A and Article 370 (these constitutional provisions give J&K its special status) will be removed but hasn’t said “when”. And this has kept the Kashmiris on their toes.
But the officers at the centre have put this rumors to rest. The adviser to the Governor, K. Vijay Kumar told The Hindu that infusion of reinforcements is a calibrated response after a joint assessment of security forces. Another official called the people not to panic. “There is no need to panic; extra personnel are being deployed so we could plan security operations effectively. Our hands were full as the Amarnath Yatra is going on,” he said. As per the order, that has been circulated, the additional deployment will include 50 companies of CRPF, 30 companies of SSB and 10 companies each of BSF and ITBP. This decision was mad after Ajit Doval, the national security adviser, returned from his two-day visit to Kashmir.
The officer revealed that there was a high threat perception around the Yatra, especially after the Pulwama attack in February. He added that this was their routine security procedure.