There is fear and confusion in the Kashmir valley after the state government asked tourists and Amarnath pilgrims to cut short their stay in Kashmir and leave as soon as possible. Throughout the day all kinds of rumours related to J&K’s special status and its political future were afloat. The secretive leakage of a series of government orders over the past one week – from troops’ build-up to shutting down college hostels to cancelling leaves of doctors and on ordering stocking of food grains – has led to a frenzied atmosphere. The valley is on the edge as tourists and even labourers from other states are reportedly fleeing. As a result, the people in Kashmir are seen thronging the markets to stock essentials including eatables, baby food, medicines, fuels, and other commodities.
Even though Governor Satya Pal Malik tried to clear the confusion by saying there was “nothing to worry,” the situation is only getting worse. Since Friday there were long rows of tourists at the Srinagar international airport and the tourist reception centre in Srinagar, eager to book their tickets to leave Kashmir. In this peak tourist season, tourists have fled from the entire Kashmir region due to fear. This is going to hurt the economy of the valley and will anger the Kashmiris further. Many of them are dependent on tourism for their survival. The government of India is playing with the emotion of the Kashmiri people by not clearing the air. There is fear and confusion about the steps being taken by the central and the state governments, but they are not bothered to clear the confusion. Is this the way government treats its fellow citizens? This whole situation may in fact provide an opportunity to the enemy to once again portray that India hardly cares for them. It may boomerang in the long run.