NEW DELHI: The Congress has hit out at the government after its advisory on Friday asking tourists and Amarnath Yatra pilgrims to leave the Kashmir Valley “immediately” because of new intelligence about terror threats. Anxious tourists, including some foreigners, crowded the Srinagar airport on Saturday, many without tickets for flights. Scores of vehicles carrying pilgrims and tourists drove out of the valley.
“The Home Ministry order has scared citizens. Tourists and pilgrims have never been asked to leave abruptly like this…The government is trying to create an atmosphere of hate, saying that Kashmir is unsafe for outsiders. We condemn this decision by the government of India,” Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said at a press conference.
Visitor numbers have been boosted by the Amarnath Yatra pilgrimage, which draws hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year. A second smaller pilgrimage, the Machail Mata Yatra, in Jammu, was also cancelled Saturday.
Local residents formed long lines outside petrol stations, food stores and ATMs on Friday night after the alert was announced. But the queues eased Saturday.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah,who met Governor Satya Pal Malik on Saturday, asked the centre to make a statement on in parliament on the situation.
Ia statement, Governor Malik said that the state “has no knowledge of any changes to constitutional provisions” and hence no panic should be created by unnecessarily linking this security matters with all kinds of other issues.