The Supreme Court on Monday, February 25, said that the hearing on various pleas that challenge the validity of Article 35A in Jammu and Kashmir will be heard from February 26-28. It is being speculated that the Narendra Modi-led BJP government might want to put an end to the special privileges enjoyed by the state to appease its vote bank across the country.
The state government tried to deflate the prevailing tension by releasing a statement on February 24 saying that no changes will be made to Article 35A anytime soon and any such decision will only be made after an elected government is in place in the Valley.
The chief spokesperson of J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik's administration said that the government has urged the Supreme Court to defer the hearings untill an elected government is in place in J&K. It is also seeking the apex court's nod to circulate letters among the political parties to defer the hearing.
The J&K government over the past few days had circulated a directive to all the departments ordering them to stock up essential supplies for the coming days, which itself triggered the panic button.
However, the government later clarified that the state is not running short of fuel, food and other essential commodities, as per some media reports.
The central government, on the other hand, has ordered for an immediate deployment of 100 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), which came after a massive crackdown on valley separatist leaders and their arrests.
Sources said that the Centre is planning to shift out a majority of these separatist leaders in jails outside J&K to evade subsequent civil unrest.
Former Chief Ministers, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti urged PM Modi to clear the air and explain to the people the reasons for additional deployment of security forces in the valley.
Valley rife with speculation about status of Article 35. Before taking a decision, GoI must consider-
1. J&K was the only Muslim majority state that chose a secular India over Pak during partition.
2. Article 370 is the constitutional connection between J&K & Indian Union.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) February 24, 2019
The President of @JKNC_ has spoken to Union Home Minister @rajnathsingh Sb to brief him about the sense of panic that is prevailing in the valley at the moment. He has requested the union government to step in with a statement & steps that reassure people. — Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 23, 2019
Dr Farooq Abdullah briefed @rajnathsingh Sb about the panic buying in the markets & the way petrol pumps have run dry and how speculation about possible developments has worsened an already tense situation.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 23, 2019