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J-K administration appeals for calm, urges people not pay heed to rumours

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: February 24, 2019  | 20:32 IST

Jammu, Feb 24 (PTI) The Jammu and Kashmir administration Sunday appealed to the people of the state to stay calm and not pay heed to rumours. The statement comes a day after tension mounted in Kashmir as the government launched a massive crackdown on separatists and detained over 150 people, mainly from the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu Kashmir, ahead of a hearing in the Supreme Court on Article 35-A of the Constitution. The development, coupled with other administrative measures, triggered a "war hysteria", prompting people in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir to stock up on groceries and essentials and buy petrol for their vehicles. "During the past few days several rumours are in circulation and panic messages are being disseminated. We urge people not to pay heed to rumours and get panicky on the basis of unsubstantiated and exaggerated pieces of information which are in circulation" Rohit Kansal, senior bureaucrat who has been designated as the chief spokesperson of the governor's administration, told reporters here. He said some political parties and organisations "unfortunately" too chose to react to these rumours triggering further panic. "My first appeal to everyone is not to pay any heed to rumours, avoid fear-mongering and not to exaggerate matters," Kansal emphasised. He said the administration was very much concerned about the safety and security of the Kashmiri people working or studying outside the state. "In the wake of the recent tragic incident in Pulwama, there were reports of alleged harassment of residents and students from J&K. There have been media reports regarding targeting of students and traders from the state and also complaints about some landlords asking their respective tenant students to vacate their rented accommodation resulting in a sense of insecurity and fear among the students," he said. He reiterated that the state administration has been taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of the residents of the state working or studying in other parts of the country. "The government of Jammu and Kashmir as early as 20th November 2018, nominated seven liaison officers (LOs) across the country to interact, coordinate and assist over 20,000 students of the state pursuing education in different parts of the country. "These LOs were nominated for Delh-NCR-Meerut, Jaipur-Bhopal, Chandigarh, Aligarh, Bengaluru, Chennai and Pune for the benefit of the students studying in and around these areas," Kansal. "Following the Pulwama incident, they (LOs) were further activated and asked to coordinate with the respective college authorities and the local administration. A 24x7 helpline was set up at the office of the Resident Commissioner in Delhi to coordinate the efforts of the LOs and to provide information and guidance," he added. Kansal said the office of the Resident Commissioner at Delhi made arrangements to accommodate students and other persons in distress at Kissan Ghar, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi to facilitate their safe transit to J&K as per requirement. "A similar helpline was established in the office of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, as well as in respective district headquarters of Kashmir Division," he said. Kansal said in the three main regions alone, including Delhi-NCR-western UP, Punjab-Haryana-Chandigarh and Jaipur-Bhopal region, over a thousand interactions were handled and coordinated with college managements and local civil and police authorities. "The state and its LOs have worked closely with the students as well as authorities in other states to handle students' concerns across the country," he said and added that whether it was Mullana or Bilaspur or Dehradun, all distress calls have been duly taken cognisance of. Wherever required students were shifted from private to hostel accommodation and stranded residents were also suitably accommodated, he added. "The state administration assures the people of J&K that due cognisance has been and shall continue to be taken for even the smallest call or incident affecting the security of the students and residents. "Respective local administrations and college authorities of all the locations are absolutely in cooperation and in sync with the J&K government on this issue," Kansal said. Responding to a question regarding orders issued by the authorities on fuel rationing, Kansal said it was done in view of apprehensions of the shortage of stocks following prolonged closure of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway due to inclement weather conditions. "We are expecting augmentation of stocks with the movement of trucks on the highway following reopening of the highway," he said. Regarding distribution of rations, Kansal said the Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department has been asked to ensure judicious distribution of ration as there is procedural requirement of advance stocking of ration for the month of March and there is nothing to be panic about. He further elaborated that in view of the closure of the highway, availability of essential supplies is being ensured for public convenience. Regarding deployment of additional troops, he said the additional forces have been called for the election purpose. About those involved in arson in Jammu, he said action will be taken against anyone found disturbing peace and stability. PTI AB AQS

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