NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR: The Centre on Friday clarified that last week’s order of deploying 10,000 additional paramilitary personnel in J&K was issued on basis of the security situation and to meet requirements of rotation of forces deployed since the Lok Sabha elections.
Sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs responding to the additional deployment of 25,000 more troops, however, insisted it had “never been the practice” to discuss deployment details in public.
“Based on the assessment of internal security situation, training requirements, the need for paramilitary troops to be rotated for rest and recuperation, the induction and de-induction of central forces is a continuous and dynamic process,” said an official. The response came after reports on Thursday suggested that 28,000 additional troops are in the process of deployment in J&K and amidst speculations on the Centre planning to do away with Article 35A of the Constitution, which gives exclusive rights to the state.
The deployment and government advisory asking yatris and tourists to curtail their stay in Kashmir, sowed chaos in the Valley which witnessed a panic buying spree. People made beelines at ATMs in Srinagar and elsewhere resulting in long queues even as petrol and diesel pumps faced unprecedented rush.“I am queued for an hour for petrol. There is total uncertainty. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow. For emergency, I must have a full tank,” said Sajad Ahmad of Rainawari area of Srinagar.
Panic and fear has gripped the Valley after MHA rushed 38,000 troops within a week. “It indicates something big is in offing. People are hoarding essentials like food and medicines,” said Zahoor Ahmad.
“Since afternoon, I sold many bags of rice and atta. People are buying vegetable oil, food items and ration supplies,” said shopkeeper Mehraj-ud-Din. State DGP Dilbagh Singh tried to play down deployments saying, “It’s in view of militant threat. We have tried to strengthen Counter Insurgency grid on the ground.”