Kashmir on edge amid rumors about 'major decision'

Fear and confusion deepened in Kashmir on Saturday, a day after the State Government asked tourists and Amarnath pilgrims to cut short their stay in Kashmir and leave as soon as possible,

Throughout the day all kinds of rumors related to J&K’s special status and its political future were afloat.

The secretive leakage of a series of government orders over the past one week – from troops’ build-up to shutting down college hostels to cancelling leaves of doctors and on ordering stocking of food grains – has led to a frenzied atmosphere.

Late in the afternoon, the Governor Satya Pal Malik tried to clear the confusion by saying there was “nothing to worry about “as of now”. However, he was quick to add, “I don’t know about tomorrow.”

As a result people in Kashmir, for the second consecutive day, were seen thronging markets to stock essentials including eatables, baby food, medicines and other commodities.

Since yesterday there has been massive rush of people on filling stations and ATMs. Today the petrol pumps in summer capital Srinagar remained shut, fearing law and order situation, as people were seeing jostling for their turn to fill the tanks.

An official of an oil company which has around 106 filling stations in Kashmir sold around 7 lakh 91 thousand litres of petrol, five times more that the average sale per day.

Other oil companies witnessed equal jump in sale of fuel as the rumors led to fear among people. 

Sociologist DrWakarul Amin while commenting on the present scenario in Kashmir said rumours are the outconme of curiosity.

“If we see it sociologically rumour is a way of satisfying an urge to know the very same thing that a listener wants to hear. There is also a psychological aspect to it where in we see some spread rumors for creating sensation,” Amin said, describing Kashmir as a “fertile ground” for rumors.

In places like New Delhi, he said, “you will not see this kind of thing. But in case of Kashmir we have such experiences where rumors have turned true”.

Meanwhile, the Home Department advisory led to most of the outsiders leaving the Valley either by road or air. Even labourers from other states have left the Valley.

Since morning there were long rows of tourists at Srinagar International Airport and Tourist Reception Center Srinagar, eager to book their tickets to leave Kashmir. 

The NIT students from other states too have started to leave Kashmir despite officials claiming that there was no advisory to shutdown educational institutions.