Kashmir remained on the edge on Sunday as authorities stepped up security deployment at vital installations and sensitive areas amid heightened terror threat and flare up of hostilities with Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC). Some official documents, accessed by News Nation, indicate that phone connections could be snapped soon in the Valley as satellite phones and closed group mobile phones have been distributed to top government officials.
Sources also confirmed News Nation about the latest development. "Satellite phones and closed group mobile phones have been distributed in central, north and south Kashmir among the security officials to deal with the law and order situation in case of downing the entire communications network in Jammu and Kashmir," the sources said.
There have been panic and rumours across the Valley with the Centre taking a flurry of initiatives over the last few weeks. In less than a week, the Centre decided to deploy additional 38,000 troops in the Kashmir Valley in two batches - 10,000 and 28,000.
The unrest in the region has further intensified in the wake of Jammu and Kashmir authorities on Friday issuing an advisory, asking tourists and Amarnath pilgrims to cut short their stay citing security threats. The advisory follows an Army warning that said Pakistan-based terrorists were planning to target the Amarnath Yatra.
After the Jammu and Kashmir administration curtailed the Amarnath Yatra and asked pilgrims and tourists to leave the valley at the earliest on Friday, anxious residents continue to throng markets to stock on essentials and serpentine queues have been visible outside shops and fuel stations.
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan, the mentor of Jammu and Kashmir state teams who was in Srinagar to oversee the trials for the U-16 (Vijay Merchant Trophy) and U-19 (Cooch Behar Trophy) squads, has left Srinagar, along with the young players.
Various educational institutions also directed their students to vacate hostels. Additional paramilitary forces, which arrived in Jammu last week, have been deployed across the city and in other vulnerable areas of Kashmir Valley, the officials said.
The strength of the security personnel has been increased around vital installations such as the civil secretariat, police headquarters, airport and various central government establishments in the city, they said.
Barricades have been erected on many arterial roads, including the entry and exit points to Srinagar, the summer capital of the state. Riot control vehicles have also been kept on standby in some areas where apprehension of law and order disturbances is more, the officials added.
In Delhi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with top security officials on Sunday and is believed to have discussed the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.
The hour-long meeting was attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and other senior officials. The meeting came amidst fresh skirmishes between security forces of India and Pakistan along the border with the Army foiling an attack by BAT on a forward post along the Line of Control (LoC) in Keran sector, killing five to seven intruders.
The Indian Army has asked its Pakistani counterparts to approach them by raising white flags and take possession of bodies which are lying on the Indian side of the LoC. The BAT generally comprises special forces personnel of the Pakistani Army and terrorists.
(With inputs from agencies)