Panic buying of essentials, petrol in Kashmir amid rumours

Srinagar: People in Kashmir, particularly summer capital Srinagar, have started to stock essential commodities and fuel amid rumours about deterioration of situation, triggered by government order asking Amarnath pilgrims and tourist to curtail their stay in the valley and deployment of additional troops.

Meanwhile, reacting to the chaos in the valley, former J&K chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti asked if the Government of India (GoI) was only concerned about the safety of yatris while Kashmiris have been left to their own devices.

Long queues of vehicles could be seen lined-up at petrol pumps across Srinagar city to get fuel, following spreading of rumours about deterioration of situation after August 15. People could be seen lined up to get cash outside ATMs, which have started to go out of cash.

People have also started to stock essential commodities, including food and medicines, in view of the rumours which grew strong following government order asking Amarnath pilgrims and tourists to curtail their stay and leave Kashmir valley as soon as possible in view of the militant threats.

People in Kashmir valley were already on the edge from last few days after additional paramilitary companies were sent to the valley, giving rise to speculation to many theories.

“We have purchased essentials, including onion, potato, different type of dal and dry milk following rumours about worsening of situation in the valley after August 15. I have also stocked medicine of my father,” Rameez Khan said.

“Complete chaos on the streets of Srinagar. People rushing to ATMs, petrol pumps & stocking up on essential supplies. Is GOI only concerned about the safety of yatris while Kashmiris have been left to their own devices?” Ms Mehbooba wrote on micro-blogging site twitter.

Terming the advisory as unprecedented, former chief minister Omar Abdullah on Friday said though this order would seem to suggest a genuine fear of a massive terror strike, but this will do nothing to dampen the sense of fear in the valley at the moment.

However, Mr Abdullah asked why the government spent money flying journalists — foreign and Indian — to brief them about how good the situation is and about how well the yatra has been going, and then ordered yatris and tourists to leave immediately.

“Although this unprecedented order would seem to suggest a genuine fear of a massive terror strike directed at Amarnath ji yatris or/and tourists this will do nothing to dampen the sense of fear & foreboding that prevails in the valley at the moment,” Mr Abdullah, who is Vice President of National Conference (NC), wrote on micro-blogging site twitter after the advisory issued by Principal secretary Home Shaleen Kabra.