This is the first Independence Day for Jammu and Kashmir after the government revoked the special powers of the state under Article 370, and bifurcated it into two union territories.
Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place in Jammu and Kashmir as the nation gets ready to celebrate its 73rd Independence Day on Thursday. Nearly 1.5 lakh police personnel – paramilitary and state police – have been deployed in the Kashmir valley alone.
This is the first Independence Day for the state after the government revoked the special powers of the state under Article 370, and bifurcated it into two union territories. But the massive security – which has been in place since August 4 – a day before the government’s crucial announcement, is not just to contain the possibility of an internal backlash.
“We are continuously catching chatter from Pakistan where instructions are given for some kind of attack,” said a senior officer related to operations, adding that the next 24 hours will be crucial.
According to him, over the last 48 hours, the Line of Control along Baramulla and Uri was also active, though the International Border has been unusually quiet.
All gazetted officers have been given marked zones in the Valley which they would be patrolling for the next 24 hours. “Arrangements have been put in place to celebrate Independence Day in every district of the state. In all 13 districts of Kashmir Valley, detailed preparations have been made by state administration,” a senior official told NDTV.
Officers who have been working overtime for the last weeks to keep law and order under control, say the rhythm of encounters was constant till August.
In the first 7 months of this year, more than 142 terrorists were eliminated by the security forces in the hinterland alone. But since August 5, when the announcement about Article 370 was made in parliament, no encounter has taken place.
“Over the last 10 days, there has been no encounter in the Valley, as the entire security establishment has been pushed to control law and order,” he explained.
“The state is facing most challenging times. With our elaborate bandobast, we were able not only to prevent the loss of human life, but also the spontaneous street protests,” a senior officer said.
To keep the situation under control, almost all state leaders have been detained at a Five-Star hotel in Srinagar. Other detainees have been either lodged in various detention centres or even outside the state.