Omar irked over ‘daft’ advisory

Political Parties Condemn ‘Scaring’ Act

NUCLEAR ATTACK

MUDDASIR ALI

Srinagar, Jan 23: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Wednesday criticized state police’s Disaster Response Force for issuing an advisory on nuclear war which triggered widespread concern in Kashmir.
“What a daft idea. Indian Kashmir told to prepare for nuclear war: ‘Build a bunker and stockpile food’,” Omar said on micro blogging site Twitter. On Monday, State Disaster Response Force - a wing of JK Police- came up with the advisory for the people in case there is a nuclear war. The advisory was published in several local newspapers.
It asked people to construct toilet-fitted basements where the whole family could stay for a fortnight apart from asking them to stock the shelter with non-perishable food items and water.
“Reminds me of the ludicrous civil defence plans in Britain which led to biggest anti-nuke movement in the 1980s,” Amitabh Mattoo, Director Australia India Institute at the University of Melbourne, responded to Omar’s tweet.
He wrote that the then British government issued a pamphlet ‘Protect and Survive’ quite similar to the “absurd guidelines” in J&K.
“Why this exercise (advertisement on nuclear war), anyway?” one of Omar’s followers tweeted him. “Damned if I know. I'm not building a bunker & stockpiling food that's for sure,” Omar responded.
More than anything else, it was the timing of the advisory that raised eyebrows in Kashmir in the wake of the Indo-Pak skirmishes along the Line of Control (LoC).
The neighboring countries, both nuclear powers, traded accusations and counter accusations on violating cease fire agreement on the LoC in place since November 2003. The tensions also affected the cross LoC trade and travel between the two countries.
The police advisory also caught the attention of the international media.
“Build a bunker: Indian police warn people in Kashmir to prepare for nuclear war,” was the story carried by Daily Mail in UK. The advisory was followed by international news agencies like AFP and AP.
The New York Times also carried a story under the headline: "India Warns Kashmiris to Prepare for Nuclear War."
The advisory evoked critical remarks from mainstream political parties too.
Ruling National Conference said the timing of the advertisement was not right, particularly in the wake of the escalating situation between India and Pakistan.
“The intent behind the advertisement was right but the timing was wrong,” said National Conference spokesman Tanvir Sadiq.
Opposition Peoples Democratic Party termed the advisory as “scaring act.” The party chief spokesman, Naeem Akthar, said it was inappropriately timed because of the recent LoC crisis and the subsequent debate that even mentioned on occasions the possibility of nuclear war.
“This has created definite scare among people,” Akthar said.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Home Guards/Civil Defence and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) today clarified the advertisement was issued on the eve of 1st Raising Day of SDRF to create awareness about the natural and manmade calamities.
“It was a routine exercise to raise general awareness and educate people about preventive measures to be taken in the event of various disasters like floods, earth quake, snow avalanches or manmade disasters. There is no alarming situation in the state,” he said.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 23 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 23 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 24 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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