Srinagar, Feb 23: People in Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir Valley went in for panic buying of fuel and food items on Saturday as rumours of the Centre being likely to favour abrogation of the Constitution’s Article 35A, giving special rights on the state’s people, spread through the day.
Long queues of motorists outside petrol pumps and shoppers thronging provision stores to buy essential commodities were seen in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley.
Orders to chief medical officers in that they must collect supplies of medicines, surgical items etc for various hospitals positively by Sunday followed an order asking officials of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department to keep ration shops open on Sunday so that people can buy food grains have added to people’s worries here.
Reacting to panic in the Valley, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, in a series of tweets, said: “The administration needs to take steps to reduce this sense of panic. People are wound tight with worry & the speculation on some TV news channels is contributing to this as well. Let’s hope someone in the government is listening.
“People in the valley, especially the cities & towns, are taking everything said or done as a sign that some big trouble is just as around the corner. People are hoarding food & fuel. Some government orders are adding to the sense of panic.”
In another tweet, Omar Abdullah said that the state chief of his National Conference has spoken to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to brief him about “the sense of panic that is prevailing in the valley at the moment” and requested the Centre to step in with a statement and steps that “reassure people”.
Various petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A, which empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to them, are likely to be taken up the Supreme Court this week and the government is also likely to spell its stance on the issue before the court.