Guidelines were published on Monday in the Greater Kashmir daily warning people about the do’s and don’ts in the case of a nuclear bomb explosion.  These guidelines also found on the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Defence, Home Guard and State Disaster Response Force website bizarrely reveal that if you are lucky enough for the force of the blast to arrive more than 5 seconds after the light of the blast then you will be ok as you haven’t received too much radiation.  It’s not clear if surviving residents of Nagasaki and Hiroshima have confirmed this statement.

In tones highly reminiscent of US propaganda in the 50s, “Duck and Cover” where children are advised to find any shelter, even a roadside kerb in the case of a siren or bright light in the distance (see youtube video here) residents in the area are being advised to:

  • In the open, immediately drop to the ground and remain in a lying position.
  • Protect eyes and exposed skin areas by covering eyes and face with hand.
  • Protect ears with fingers or thumbs after covering eyes with palms to prevent ear drum rupture.
  • Stay down after the initial shock wave, wait for the winds to die down and debris to stop falling.
  • If blast wave does not arrive within five seconds of the flash you were far enough from the ground zero and initial radiation exposure will not exceed 150 rads.
  • Dive out of the way of any windows or doors to avoid injury due to glass/window splinters.
  • If in a vehicle on detection of flash, dive from the vehicle to face down in prone position. Dive in the direction of the flash to avoid the vehicle over turning on you due to blast.

It also adds, as a precaution in advance of any attack residents should:

  • Construct/identify basements in your residence where the whole family can stay in for a fortnight.
  • In case no basement available then in the open space in front of your house, construct bunkers as in conventional war (as some protection is better than no protection)
  • Stock the shelter with non-perishable foods and water to be replaced regularly before getting unhygienic
  • Construct toilet facilities in the basement/shelter.
  • Store ample candles and battery lights.
  • Remove stocks of flammables if any
  • Keep battery operated miniature transistor /TV sets in the basement.
  • Familiarize with instructions / operational procedures being broadcasted/ telecasted at stipulated hours by Civil Defence authorities.
  • Paste black paper on window/door glass panels.
  • Familiarize with community shelters in your locality in consultation with CD/Revenue/Police authorities.

These guidelines are fuelling an atmosphere of fear according to reports in Al Jazeera.

The Inspector General of Police, Yoginder Kaul said the notice was a normal exercise to raise general awareness among the public.  “It has nothing to do with anything and it should not be connected with anything”.

The Indian anti-nuclear organisation Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace issued a statement saying,

“This is a sickening reminder of the pathology of the Cold War, when a nuclear exchange was considered worth fighting and even winnable. But we know that no civil defence is possible when it comes to nuclear weapons. Hence, the advisory is clearly misleading and frightening at the same time.

This also highlights the urgent need to begin a discussion on a nuclear weapons-free zone (NWFZ) in South Asia, an agenda that the CNDP has been advocating since its inception in 2000.

This vindicates our position that far from providing security, nuclear weapons have further endangered South Asia and any conventional skirmish has the potential to lapse into a nuclear escalation. The recent turn of events leading to an unfortunate diplomatic stand-off, military build-ups on both sides, and war hysteria in sections of the media, have actually arisen out of adventurism along the Line of Control. Militaries on both sides occasionally indulge in such adventurism and ratchet up tensions to hysterical levels.

We urge the governments and people on both sides to resume dialogue and end the current escalation of tensions at the earliest. We demand that the J&K police withdraw its misleading advisory on nuclear war.”