With the air of uncertainty and anxiety looming large – what Omar Abdullah calls a sense of fear and foreboding – Kashmiris are preparing for any eventuality. Grocery stores, ration depots, ATMs and fuel stations in Srinagar are witnessing a scramble.
‘‘There is complete chaos on the streets of Srinagar. People are rushing to ATMs, petrol pumps & stocking up on essential supplies. Is Government of India only concerned about the safety of yatris while Kashmiris have been left to their own devices?" Mehbooba Mufti tweeted.
Multiple government orders were uploaded on social media last week, suggesting a major unrest could be in the offing. The visit of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the deployment of thousands of troops and presence of security forces at sensitive places such as radio and TV stations are being viewed as a precursor of something untoward.
"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," Omar Abdullah has tweeted.
Several theories are doing the rounds among locals with most speculating that this was possibly part of an effort to repeal Article 35-A and Article 370, which has remained one of the major poll planks for the BJP and has the potential to intensify unrest in Valley.
Article 35A gives “special status” to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir and also defines the “permanent residents” of the state, while Article 370 limits the Parliament's power to make laws concerning the state.