Anantnag: A conspicuously large troop movement in Jammu and Kashmir has added impetus to already buzzing rumour mills in Kashmir valley about a new “big development” being planned by New Delhi, on the lines of the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
A substantial number of troops have arrived in Jammu and Kashmir over the last few days and been deployed mostly in Jammu region and in north Kashmir. The development has triggered widespread concerns in political as well as civil circles of Kashmir valley with people drawing parallels between the build-up to August 5, 2019, and this massive troop movement.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, told NDTV that the troops were only returning to the Union Territory from states where they had been sent for election duty.
“They are only returning to their places of posting. They are being re-inducted,” Kumar said.
The administration, however, has so far done nothing to dispel the rumours spreading like wildfire in Kashmir. People are speculating on the possibility of New Delhi creating a Jammu state and a Kashmir UT, or a Kashmir state and a Jammu UT, or a delimitation process in the region and creation of a Pandit township in Kashmir.
Social media as well as local circles are abuzz with such rumours, which are flying thick and fast.
Many Kashmiri politicians who were detained ahead of the abrogation of Article 370 have been taking to Twitter and voicing their concerns over this rumour mongering. They, however, are also speculating about what could it mean.
“While rumours are flying thick and fast, would we be ready for a second semester? MLA’s hostel 2.0?” National Conference (NC) spokesperson Tanveer Sadiq tweeted, in an obvious reference to him being detained before August 5, 2019, along with some other unionist politicians in the MLAs’ hostel.
Another NC leader, Ruhullah Mehdi, while retweeting a tweet about the rumours, wrote, “With no batter to stand and defend this side of the pitch, they can throw anything. Bouncer, slow bouncer, uneven bouncer, slow bouncer, fast bouncer, beamer. Especially while there is no umpire to check them for overstepping.”
People’s Conference (PC) Chairman Sajad Lone also had his two cents to add, even as he subtly sought a government clarification.
“We want to believe even in rumours rumoured to be rumours. We love rumours, don’t we? Last few days have been all about rumours and conspiracies,” Lone tweeted. “They say don’t believe a rumour to be true until the government actually denies it.”
The denial from the government is yet to come.
Interestingly, former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have had nothing to say regarding the rumours thus far.
About 800 new companies of troops were brought into Kashmir valley ahead of the August 5 abrogation of Article-370. The government, headed then by Governor Satyapal Malik, kept denying and rubbishing reports of any major upheaval right till the very end.
Malik was even denying the “rumours” about abrogation of the special status on the evening of August 4. The rumours obviously turned out to be absolutely spot-on.
With a bitter past experience, Kashmiri people are ruling out no eventuality in the coming days, with or without a government denial.
As a Twitter user put it: “Reading updates online feels like the second wave of August 5! God, be kind.”