Describing the order as a "matter most urgent", the director asked the oil marketing companies to make adequate stocks of LPG which can last up to two months both at bottling plants as well as godowns

LEH: J&K government’s orders on stocking up LPG sufficiently in Kashmir and asking district administration in Ganderbal, which connects the Valley with Ladakh, to vacate school buildings for forces have sparked speculation in the Union Territory, especially in the wake of the tension along the Line of Actual Control.

The June 27 order said the matter was “most urgent” and directed the concerned department to stock up LPG, which can last for at least two months, owing to frequent landslides along Srinagar-Jammu national highway. However, the landslides are very few in summers and these orders are mostly issued before the onset of winters.

The locals reminisced about similar orders issued in 2019 ahead of the Balakot operation in February and the passing of the J&K Reorganisation Bill in August. The current orders, like the last year’s, were widely circulated on social media platforms. “It seems we are being asked to store for a war-like situation or another long clampdown. It has to do something with what is happening on border. We are witnessing massive troop and artillery movement on highway almost every day,” said Nisar Ahmad Bangroo, a shopkeeper in downtown Srinagar.

Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter: “Government orders are creating panic in Kashmir and unfortunately after all the lies and false assurances last year even if/when the government explains these orders hardly anyone of us will take the assurances at face value. That said they still need to explain these orders.” A separate order from SSP of J&K Police in Ganderbal district said at least 16 schools in the district should be vacated for security forces, in the wake of the annual Amarnath Yatra scheduled from July 21 to August 3. Due to the prevailing COVID pandemic, the UT administration has already caped the yatra to 15 days compared to the annual routine of around 60 days and designated just one route from Sonamarg in Ganderbal for pilgrims.

“With movement of armed forces into Ladakh from Valley, this corridor has to be secured and this exercise seems to be part of that process. Otherwise, Amarnath yatra is a low key and customary affair this year due to corona and it will not need so much security,” a senior official told ET.

However, Kashmir’s divisional commissioner PK Pole said the government orders have different and separate context. “It has nothing to do with any border tension. It is like misinterpretation and arriving at stretched meaning.”