Adequate arrangements made to ensure peace in Kashmir: IGP

Srinagar: Adequate security arrangements have been made to ensure a peaceful atmosphere in Kashmir as the Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce its verdict on Monday on a bunch of petitions challenging the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution by the Centre in August 2019, a senior police officer said on Sunday.

“We are duty-bound to ensure that peace prevails in the valley under all circumstances,” Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir Zone V K Birdi told PTI.

The Supreme Court has listed for pronouncement of judgment the petitions challenging the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into Union territories by the Centre on August 5, 2019.

A five-judge bench of the apex court reserved its verdict on the petitions on September 5 after conducting daily hearings in the matter from August 2.

While the IGP refused to divulge specifics of the security set-up for Monday, he said “adequate arrangements” have been put in place.

“We are taking all precautions and will ensure that peace is not disturbed in Kashmir,” Birdi, who held security review meetings in most of the 10 valley districts over the last two weeks, said.

Asked if orders invoking section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) on the misuse of social media were related to the Supreme Court’s expected judgment, he said there have been several incidents of some elements trying to provoke people.

“There have been several posts recently, in which there were attempts to provoke people. Action has been taken against such elements in the past and action will be taken in the future as well,” he added.

The authorities here have issued guidelines for social media users under CrPC section 144 to curb the spread of contents that are communally sensitive or promote terrorism and secessionism.

“The guidelines aim to provide clarity on actions citizens should take when encountering content related to terrorism, secessionism, threats, intimidation or communally-sensitive material on social media platforms,” the circular, issued by police in several districts, read.

According to the guidelines, the citizens have been asked to contribute to maintaining a safe online environment and promptly report any suspicious activity.

“If you receive a message containing objectionable content, then report it immediately to the nearest police station or police post with a screenshot and detailed information,” the guidelines read.

The users have been advised to “recall messages promptly” in case they accidentally share inappropriate content.

Political parties in Kashmir are cautious in voicing their expectations from the Supreme Court.

National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah said he can only hope and pray that the decision will be in favour of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Who will say with authority what is to happen? I do not have any such machinery or way by which I can come to know today what those five honourable judges have in their hearts or what they have written in the judgment.

“I can only hope and pray that the decision is in our favour, but neither me nor anyone else can claim that success will be ours. We are waiting for the judgment. Let it come, we will talk about it then,” he said.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said it is the apex court’s responsibility to ensure that it does not push the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) agenda, but keeps the integrity of the country and its Constitution intact.

Mufti said the court’s decision should be clear that the decision taken by the BJP-led Centre on August 5, 2019 to abrogate the provisions of Article 370 was “illegal, unconstitutional”, against Jammu and Kashmir and the promises made to the people here.

“I think the decision should be simple that whatever was done on August 5, 2019 was illegal, unconstitutional, against Jammu and Kashmir and the promises made to the people here,” she said.