Crisis in J&K deepens; Alert in Kashmir Valley ahead of anti-blockade march to PoK
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  • The crisis in the Jammu and Kashmir deepened on August 10 as the Central Government’s effort to end the economic blockade of the Jammu-Srinagar highway fell on deaf ears and the issue appeared to be getting polarized along regional and communal lines. In the meantime, valley-based politicians led by People's Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti stated they would join the August 11 ‘Muzaffarabad Chalo’ call given by the Kashmir Fruit Growers' Association. The state government on its part deployed additional security in Srinagar in view of the separatist call to march to Muzaffarabad in PoK. The Hurriyat Conference announced that a convoy of fruit-laden trucks from Kashmir would proceed towards Muzaffarabad and people of Muslim majority areas in Jammu would march towards Rawalakote1.

    Differences also cropped up in the all-party delegation that visited J&K to review the ongoing situation in the state, with the NC disapproving the nationwide agitation called by the BJP on the Amarnath issue, while the BJP on its part blamed the government for the delay in holding the talks. After a two-day visit to the strife-torn state, a delegation led by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil returned to New Delhi on August 10. The Home Minister exuded confidence that an amicable solution would be found.

    Earlier, the Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti (SAYSS), leading the agitation over the land transfer issue, refused to hold talks with the delegation members, objecting to the presence of NC leader Farooq Abdullah, PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti and J and K Pradesh Congress Committee leader Saifuddin Soz. The SAYSS spokesperson Leela Karan Sharma accused these leaders as responsible for the present turmoil in the state2. It had earlier criticised the Central Government for not inviting it to the all-party meeting convened by the Prime Minister Dr. Singh in New Delhi to resolve the row and alleged that such a step would lead to further alienation of Jammu region3.

    Meanwhile, on August 7, Governor N.N. Vohra appointed three Advisors to assist him in the effective administration of the state. These included H. H. Tyabji, Dr. S.S. Bloeria and C. Phunsog, retired IAS officers of the J&K cadre and who had earlier served as Chief Secretaries of the state4.