SRINAGAR: Putting all rumors to hold that the paramilitary build-up in Jammu & Kashmir being linked to a plan to abrogate Articles 35A and 370, a top intelligence official on Sunday said the exercise was in response to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) planning terror strikes in the run-up to Independence Day to shore up the drooping morale of separatist forces.
News of additional 100 companies of paramilitary forces being sent to the Valley had triggered rumors about an "impending" abrogation of Articles 35A and 370, both of which give the state special status.
According to the official, the security establishment was merely trying to prevent any misadventure by ISI before or after August 15.
He said the crackdown by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on separatist elements and sources of terror funding had sharply reduced the scale of in Kashmir and made the ISI increasingly desperate.
There has been an increase in tourist arrivals. The hotels are full. There has also been a surge in the number of Amarnath pilgrims, whereas incidents of stone-pelting have declined. "There have been fewer strike calls lately, all of which add up to a picture that undermines Pakistan's depiction of J&K as a tinderbox," the official said.
He said all inputs from intelligence agencies point to Pakistan-based handlers of terrorists in the Valley raring to disrupt the return of normalcy. Some might even be tempted to interpret Donald Trump's recent meeting with Pakistan PM Imran Khan as creating space for them to step up violence in J&K, he said.
An opposing theory still doing the rounds is that the Supreme Court's verdict for or against Article 35A might trigger unrest in the Valley, a possibility that has prompted Delhi to send additional forces in advance.