Officials advise Kashmir residents on WMD attack

Government officials in Indian Kashmir are advising residents about how to deal with a potential nuclear, biologic or chemical attack, but said that the advice is not connected to recent tensions between India and Pakistan.

The Protection Against Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons advisory was published on Monday in a Kashmiri newspaper, Greater Kashmir, which requests that people build underground bunkers in their toilet-equipped basements or front yards that are large enough to accommodate all family members. The article tells residents to periodically stock the bunkers with candles, non-perishable food, battery-operated lights and radios, Voice of America reports.

Yoginder Kaul, Kashmir's inspector general of the Civil Defense and Disaster Response Force, said that the advisory is part of a routine disaster management education campaign.

"I had issued some public awareness, regarding natural disasters and man-made disasters," Kaul said, according to Voice of America. "And in that, one of the components is this also - nuclear/biological. People should be aware, what are the dos and don'ts regarding floods, earthquakes, because our force has been created to minimize losses, human losses, loss of property also."

Kaul said that reactions to the awareness drive were blown out of proportion.

Political commentators said that the reaction is the result of timing. The advisory came out days after clashes between Pakistan and India along the cease-fire line that splits Kashmir. Two Indian and three Pakistani soldiers were killed, leading to the worst clash between the two armies in nearly a decade.

The tensions calmed after the rivals agreed to stop the cross-border firing, Voice of America reports.