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KNZ NEWS DESK

Srinagar:- Home Minister Amit Shah is likely to visit Jammu and Kashmir amid uncertainty triggered by the state government’s advisory in which it asked Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and tourists to cut short their stay. He may visit the state after the parliament session and an itinerary is being prepared, sources say.

Mr Shah is expected to visit Jammu first and then the Kashmir Valley.

On Friday, the state government advised tourists and Amarnath pilgrims to leave the valley “immediately” because of new intelligence about terror threats.

The announcement triggered panic among the locals. Long queues were seen outside shops, pharmacies and ATMs as people rushed to stock up essentials.

Anxious tourists, including some foreigners, crowded the Srinagar airport on Saturday, many without tickets for flights. Scores of vehicles carrying pilgrims and tourists drove out of the valley.

The government’s announcement also triggered panic among the politicians of Jammu and Kashmir, who feared that the centre may have plans to do away with Article 35A of the Constitution, which gives exclusive rights to the state’s residents in government jobs and land.

Governor Satya Pal Malik said there was no plan to scrap Article 35A.

Former Jammu And Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, meanwhile, demanded that the government must issue a statement in parliament over the state’s special status.

The Congress on Saturday slammed the centre for the announcement, saying it scared citizens with the advisory.

“The Home Ministry order has scared citizens. Tourists and pilgrims have never been asked to leave abruptly like this…The government is trying to create an atmosphere of hate, saying that Kashmir is unsafe for outsiders. We condemn this decision by the government of India,” Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said at a press conference.

Earlier in the week, a troop build-up of paramilitary forces had also raised suspicion of possible terror activity in the state.