Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Put Under House Arrest, Internet Services Snapped as Kashmir Remains Tense
Srinagar/New Delhi: Three of Jammu and Kashmir's most prominent politicians Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Sajad Lone were put under house arrest late Sunday night amid a massive security-built up in the state.
Internet services and mobile services were suspended in several places and all public gatherings were banned in Srinagar district as section 144 was imposed from midnight.
Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah had on Sunday evening tweeted saying that he has been informed that an "unofficial curfew" was about to begin in Kashmir and mainstream leaders were going to be detained or kept under house arrest.
"If officers in the state government are to be believed mobile internet is going down now, an unofficial curfew is going to start and mainstream leaders are going to be detained. No idea who to believe and where this is heading," he tweeted.
"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," the NC leader said.
To the people of Kashmir, we don’t know what is in store for us but I am a firm believer that what ever Almighty Allah has planned it is always for the better, we may not see it now but we must never doubt his ways. Good luck to everyone, stay safe & above all PLEASE STAY CALM.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) August 4, 2019
Abdullah had further said that government's decision to stop Amarnath Yatra, citing security concerns and intelligence inputs about the possibility of terror attacks, was exposed. "So we can debunk the stories that were being fed to the channels about everything that's been happening in Kashmir over the last few days, including the yatra stoppage, happening because of Pakistan," he added.
Earlier on Sunday, leaders of the mainstream political parties in Kashmir held an all-party meeting in Srinagar to discuss the prevailing situation in the Valley.
Kashmir remained on edge as authorities stepped up security deployment at vital installations and sensitive areas amid heightened terror threat and flare up of hostilities with Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC).
After the Jammu and Kashmir administration curtailed the Amarnath Yatra and asked pilgrims and tourists to leave the valley at the earliest on Friday, anxious residents continue to throng markets to stock on essentials and serpentine queues have been visible outside shops and fuel stations.
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan, the mentor of Jammu and Kashmir state teams who was in Srinagar to oversee the trials for the U-16 (Vijay Merchant Trophy) and U-19 (Cooch Behar Trophy) squads, has left Srinagar, along with the young players. "We have for the time being postponed the second phase of junior team trials...since there has been a government advisory, I had a meeting with Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association...Accordingly, it was decided that boys need to be sent back home," Pathan was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Various educational institutions also directed their students to vacate hostels.
Additional paramilitary forces, which arrived here last week, have been deployed across the city and in other vulnerable areas of Kashmir Valley, the officials said.
The strength of the security personnel has been increased around vital installations such as the civil secretariat, police headquarters, airport and various central government establishments in the city, they said. Barricades have been erected on many arterial roads, including the entry and exit points to Srinagar, the summer capital of the state. Riot control vehicles have also been kept on standby in some areas where apprehension of law and order disturbances is more, the officials added.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that it was the right time for US President Donald Trump to mediate on Kashmir turmoil.
Pakistan further warned India that it is ready to respond to any "misadventure or aggression" by the Indian forces, as the country's top civil and military leadership discussed the sudden spike in tensions with New Delhi during a meeting of the National Security Committee.
The meeting criticised "Indian actions which would have adverse implications for regional and international peace." Pakistan reiterates that Kashmir is a long standing unresolved international dispute which needs peaceful resolution. Pakistan therefore urges India to come forth to resolve the issue in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, it said. It said that the recent "buildup of forces" is adding "fuel to fire".