Rawat says anti-terror operations will continue in J&K

Army Chief Bipin Rawat, PTI file photo

Jammu and Kashmir was brought under Governor's rule on Wednesday and the state Assembly put under suspended animation, a day after the PDP-BJP government collapsed with the BJP ending the three-year-old alliance with the regional party.

As Governor N N Vohra held multiple meetings in Srinagar during which security measures were discussed, Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat said the ongoing military operations in the Valley against terrorists would continue as earlier.

Governor's rule in the state is unlikely to have any impact on ongoing military operations, he told reporters in New Delhi.

It is for the fourth time that the sensitive border state was placed under the Central rule in the last one decade--all under the tenure of Vohra, who was made the Governor in June 2008. This is the eighth time in the last four decades that the state was put under Governor's rule.

"The President has approved the imposition of Governor's rule in Jammu and Kashmir with immediate effect." a Union Home Ministry spokesman said in New Delhi in the morning.

An official gazette notification issued in Srinagar said Governor Vohra has put Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly under suspended animation. The six-year term of the current Assembly ends in March 2021.

Separately, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the Centre wants terrorism to end and peace to prevail in Kashmir.

"Our only aim is that terrorism should end and peace should prevail in Kashmir and our government will work keeping this in mind," he told reporters in Lucknow.

Singh was responding to a question about BJP's dramatic decision to pull out of the coalition with the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP. Mehbooba submitted her resignation after the BJP withdrew support.

Vohra had last night recommended imposition of Governor's rule in a report sent to the Rashtrapati Bhavan around the time when President Ram Nath Kovind, who is on an overseas trip, was onboard his special aircraft.

The contents of the Governor's report were immediately sent to Suriname where the president was scheduled to land at 6.30 pm (3 am IST).

The president after perusing the report gave his assent and the same was sent to the Union Home Ministry by 6 am (IST) following which the process of promulgating Governor's rule was prepared and sent to Srinagar.

"Immediately after receiving the President of India's approval, Governor N N Vohra issued the proclamation to impose Governor's rule in the state under Section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir today," a Raj Bhavan spokesman said in Srinagar.

After assuming charge as the head of the state administration, Vohra held meetings with top civil administration and police officials at the Civil Secretariat in Srinagar.

The Governor held discussions with Chief Secretary B B Vyas and identified the major tasks which shall require to be dealt with on a strict time-bound basis, beginning on Wednesday.

He was earlier accorded a ceremonial welcome and guard of honour by a police contingent as he arrived at the Civil Secretariat to take charge of the administration.

Vohra chaired a meeting of top officials -- both from civil administration and police -- to gear up the state administrative machinery to function with speed, efficiency and accountability.

The break-up of the PDP-BJP coalition triggered celebrations in parts of the Valley, even as some people expressed apprehension that Governor's rule might lead to lack of transparency and worsen the situation in the state.

In several areas of Kashmir, including Srinagar, Kupwara and Pahalgam, people burst firecrackers after the news broke out.

"This alliance was unholy. The PDP should not have joined hands with the BJP in the first place. But better late than never. We are happy that this alliance has ended," said Faizan Mir, a resident of Srinagar.

However, some people felt that an elected government was any day better than the Governor's rule.

"A democratically elected government is much better any day than the Governor's rule which essentially means New Delhi's direct rule in the state where now they will have absolute control over the administration and the security apparatus.

"They can do anything now in the absence of a government which otherwise could build pressure on them on certain issues," said Feroz Ahmad Bhat, a resident of central Kashmir's Ganderbal.

Security preparations for the annual Amarnath yatra also figured during the meetings held by the Governor. Security forces have already been asked to maintain "highest level of alertness" and "synergy," police said.

The two-month-long pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre high cave shrine of Amarnath will commence on June 28.

As speculation mounted over what could be the exact reason for the BJP to walk out of the alliance, BJP state president Ravinder Raina said deteriorating law and order situation was the main reason so that Governor's rule can be imposed to ensure restoration of peace and normalcy in the state.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav yesterday cited the "larger national interest...the deteriorating security situation" for the party's pullout.

National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah called for the immediate dissolution of the state Legislative Assembly and holding of fresh elections in the state. 

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Rawat says anti-terror operations will continue in J&K

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