Before making historic statement in Parliament over scrapping of Article 370, Home Minister Amit Shah was well prepared to meet any eventuality in Kashmir valley. The home ministry sent 2,000 satellite phones to the J&K administration in the event of phones and internet not functioning. Internet services in the Valley were cut off on Sunday night, and mobile and phone services soon after.
Over the past 10 days, as many as 350 companies of paramilitary forces — 35,000 men — were moved to the state, particularly the Valley.Around the same time, the last week of July, the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO)’s high altitude long-endurance Israeli Heron drones were sent across the Pir Panjal for crowd control.
Military aircraft flew dozens of sorties flying relief supplies including food, water and medicines into the Valley. By Friday last week, the buzz over the scrapping of 35A (370 was never mentioned) had intensified, especially after the Amarnath yatra was called off, and tourists asked to leave the Valley.
On the evening of August 4, with speculation peaking, Shah called up the RAW chief Goel and IB chief Kumar and told them to be ready – perhaps the first time the national security establishment realised that the Modi government was going to announce scrapping of article 35A and 370 in Parliament on Monday.
The timing of Monday’s move, 10 days ahead of India’s Independence day on August 15 is significant but a BJP functionary played it down. “This was the first session of Parliament after the elections and if not now, then when?”
Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary, Planning Commission in Srinagar said, “Kashmir Valley has more than 3 months’ food supply including rice, wheat, mutton, eggs and fuel. There will be no shortage of food or civil supplies in the state. Essential supplies had been stocked and distributed across the Valley.”