Kashmir leaders under house arrest, security stepped up, schools shut, internet snapped

Officials said restrictions on movement of people would come into force in Kashmir Valley at the crack of dawn.

Jammu and Kashmir’s three most prominent leaders Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Sajad Lone were placed under house arrest late on Sunday as restrictions were imposed in Srinagar and mobile internet blocked in all districts of the state.

The government move comes after a massive security build-up and an advisory asking tourists and pilgrims to leave the restive state, citing security threats from terrorists backed by the Pakistan army.

Authorities imposed restrictions under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which bars the assembly of more than four persons, from midnight in Srinagar. They would remain in place till further orders, they said.

“As per the order, there shall be no movement of public and all educational institutions shall also remain closed. There will be a complete bar on holding any kind of public meetings or rallies during the period of operation of this order,” a government statement said.

“Identity cards of essential services officials will be treated as movement passes wherever required. However, there is no curfew in place as reported in a section of media,” it added.

Officials said National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Mehbooba Mufti would not be allowed to move out of their houses in view of strict security measures. The two leaders, along with other politicians, had attended an all-party meeting that resolved to seek an audience with President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the security situation in the state hours before being placed under house arrest.

“I believe I’m being placed under house arrest from midnight tonight & the process has already started for other mainstream leaders. No way of knowing if this is true but if it is then I’ll see all of you on the other side of whatever is in store. Allah save us 🙏🏼,” Omar Abdullah said in a tweet.

He also appealed to the people in the Valley to stay calm.

“In such difficult times, I’d like to assure our people that come what may, we are in this together & will fight it out. Nothing should break our resolve to strive for what’s rightfully ours,” Mufti also wrote on Twitter.

Congress leader Usman Majid and Communist Party of India (Marxist) legislator MY Tarigami too claimed they were arrested on Sunday night.

However, no official confirmation was immediately available.

Earlier on Sunday, leaders of political parties who met in Srinagar decided to meet the President, Prime Minister and other leaders, resolving to protect and defend the identity, autonomy and special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The situation in the state was discussed at the all-party meeting, which was held at the residence of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah.

“It was unanimously resolved that all parties would be united with their resolve to protect and defend identity, autonomy and special status of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh against all attacks and onslaughts whatsoever, modification abrogation of Article 35A, 370, unconstitutional delimitation, trifurcation of the state would be an aggression against the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” said Omar Abdullah’s father, Farooq Abdullah, reading from a copy of the resolution.

The meeting was attended by Mufti, Omar Abdullah, Taj Mohiuddin (Congress), Muzaffar Beig (PDP), Sajad Lone and Imran Ansari (People’s Conference), Shah Faesal (J&K Peoples Movement) and MY Tarigami (CPI-M).

Police did not confirm that Mufti and Omar Abdullah were placed under house arrest.

Source: Hindustan Times


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