Srinagar, Feb 23: The social media on Friday night gave rise to feverish speculations on Article 35-A being scrapped, sparking a storm of rumour mongering in and about Kashmir.
The situation in the valley remained tense after 100 Companies of armed forces were airlifted to Kashmir between Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.
During this time, JKLF Chief Yasin Malik and dozens of Jama’at-e-Islami leaders including its chief Dr Hameed Fayaz, were arrested in several nocturnal raids.
With the news of choppers hovering in the dead of the night and the arrest spree, the rumour of tinkering with Article 35-A on social media triggered panic among people.
Various people including mainstream politicians, journalists, lawyers, and students took to social media platforms to express their fears.
Senior leader National Conference Omar Abdullah posted a tweet and later on deleted it. He wrote, “Srinagar is agog with rumours & speculation tonight!”
Mayor Srinagar Junaid Azim Mattu made an indirect reference to the deleted tweet in his post. He tweeted, “When senior leaders tweet out of gossip and add to the sense of anxiety and uncertainty in the State – May God help us.”
Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “In the past 24 hours, Hurriyat leaders & workers of Jamaat organisation have been arrested. Fail to understand such an arbitrary move which will only precipitate matters in J&K. Under what legal grounds are their arrests justified? You can imprison a person but not his ideas.”
Senior Journalist and Editor Barkha Dutt wrote on Twitter: “Word from Kashmir is that all key separatists to be flown out of Sringar and kept in custody elsewhere in country. So that none can rabble rouse on streets or gather crowds. #PulwamaAttack”
Senior journalist, Hakeem Irfan wrote on Twitter: “Friends messaging about helicopters hovering over Srinagar. I also heard noise of some similar machines. Pro-freedom leaders detained. People exchanging messages on scrapping of Article 35 (A) & noise & nudge of TV debates… Meri Raat Muntazir Hai Kisi Aur Subah e Nou Ki #Kashmir”
Journalist Samiya Latief tweeted, “Away from home and yet so restless. May this night end soon and not bring in more bad news. Allah Rehem! #Kashmir #home.”
Journalist at Livemint, Haris Zargar tweeted, “Don’t wish to sound alarmist, but I can hear helicopters hovering #Srinagar airspace for past half and hour or so. What is happening?”
Lawyer at District Court Shopian, Habeel Iqbal tweeted, “Top brass of jamaat-I-Islami Kashmir detained. Folks, stay strong. Going to be a test of our nerves also.! We shall overcome.”
Another lawyer Shehryar Khanum tweeted, “I’m miles away from home and I’m restless. #kashmir be well and stay safe.”
Media Student Shaykh Adnan wrote on Twitter, “It’s 3:30 am & the entire valley is in the grip of terror. Reinforcement, arresting pro resistance leaders, hovering warplanes. This ain’t normal.”
Another student, Aarif Shah tweeted,” Fighter jets & helicopters flying over Srinagar from last 3 hours. Uneasiness gripping Kashmir. What’s going on.”