Hours after Jammu and Kashmir government's advisory to tourists and Amarnath Yatra pilgrims to 'immediately' leave the Valley, former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Friday claimed that people in the Valley are forced to leave hotels and state transport buses were being deployed to ferry them out of Gulmarg and Pahalgam.
"Friends staying in hotels in Gulmarg are being forced to leave. State road transport Corpn buses are being deployed to bus people out from Pahalgam & Gulmarg. If there is a threat to the yatra why is Gulmarg being emptied?" he said in a series of tweets.
The claim from Abdullah came hours after authorities issued an rare advisory asking Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and tourists to leave Kashmir "as soon as possible". The advisory cited Indian Army's claim that it has recieved confirmed intelligence inputs about terrorist strike threat on Amarnath Yatra.
"Keeping in view the latest intelligence inputs of terror threats, with specific targeting of the Amarnath Yatra, and given the prevailing security situation in the Kashmir Valley, in the interest of safety and security of the tourists and Amarnath Yatris, it is advised that they may curtail their stay in the Valley immediately and take necessary measures to return as soon as possible," the advisory said.
Abdullah said that he has many questions regarding the current turn of events in the Valley but despite having been led the state for 6 years, no one was telling him about the happenings in Kashmir.
"I have so many questions & not a single answer. I’ve met people today who occupy important positions to do with J&K, not one of them was able to tell me anything and I’ve been CM for 6 years. Imagine the plight of your everyday Kashmiri who doesn’t know what to believe," he said.
Earlier in the day, Addressing a joint presser with CRPF and Jammu and Kashmir Police, the Army said that they have recovered a landmine and a sniper rifle with Pakistan ordnance factory markings from the route of the Amarnath pilgrimage. The Army claimed that they have confirmed intelligence reports that terrorists backed by the Pakistan Army are trying to disrupt the Yatra.
This comes in the backdrop of massive troops buildup in Kashmir. After rushing 10,000 troops of paramilitary forces to Kashmir last, the central on Thursday moved over 280 companies of security forces, which makes more 28,000 troops, to the Valley. It has also pressed the Indian Air Force aircraft including the C-17 heavy lift plane into service.
The troops buildup in the Kashmir triggered speculations among locals that the central government may be planning to abrogate of Article 35A of the Constitution, which provides special status to people of the Valley and bars outsiders to buy immovable assets in Kashmir. However, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik had on Tuesday cleared the air and said that there was no plan to scrap Article 35A.