Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti are under house arrest along with People's Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone as a strict curfew with restrictions was imposed in Srinagar on midnight Monday.
Mobile services have been cut entirely in Kashmir Valley, reports said, adding that satellite phones were being provided to police officials and district magistrates.
The restrictions under Section 144 CrPC, however, have not been imposed in the Ladakh region. Schools in the region will reopen normally on Monday after summer vacations and classes in colleges and other educational institutions will resume normally.
National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah tweeted the news on Sunday: “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."
Violence will only play in to the hands of those who do not have the best interests of the state in mind. This wasn’t the India J&K acceded to but I’m not quite ready to give up hope yet. Let calm heads prevail. God be with you all.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) August 4, 2019
In a subsequent tweet, Abdullah said, “To the people of Kashmir, we don’t know what is in store for us but I am a firm believer that whatever 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.”
Police officials said former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti would not be allowed to move out of the house during the curfew.
How ironic that elected representatives like us who fought for peace are under house arrest. The world watches as people & their voices are being muzzled in J&K. The same Kashmir that chose a secular democratic India is facing oppression of unimaginable magnitude. Wake up India— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) 4 August 2019
Reacting to the development, Mehbooba tweeted, "Hearing reports about internet being snapped soon including cellular coverage. Curfew passes being issued too. God knows what awaits us tomorrow. It's going to be a long night. 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," she said.
Jammu & Kashmir: Security tightened in Srinagar in view of the imposition of section 144 CrPC from midnight 5th August. pic.twitter.com/qErNGidUDi— ANI (@ANI) August 5, 2019
Congress leader Usman Majid and CPI(M) MLA M Y Tarigami claimed they were arrested on Sunday night, however, no official confirmation was immediately available.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted in support of the state's leaders: "You are not alone, Omar Abdullah. Every Indian democrat will stand with the decent mainstream leaders in Kashmir as you face up to whatever the government has in store for our country. Parliament is still in session & our voices will not be stilled."
What is going on in J&K? Why would leaders be arrested overnight while having done no wrong? If Kashmiris are our citizens &their leaders our partners, surely the mainstream ones must be kept on board while we act against terrorists & separatists? If we alienate them, who’s left?— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) August 4, 2019
Kashmir has been on edge ever since authorities stepped up security deployment at vital installations and sensitive areas.
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 thronged markets to stock on essentials and formed serpentine queues outside shops and fuel stations.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor S P Malik had earlier dismissed speculations that the Centre might be planning to do away with Article 35A of the Constitution, which gives exclusive rights to the state's residents in government jobs and land.
Political parties in J-K had expressed apprehensions about such an action after the Centre deployed additional troops and curtailed the Amarnath Yatra.
Earlier on Sunday, regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir unanimously resolved to fight any attempt to abrogate the constitutional provisions that guarantee it special status or any move to trifurcate the state.
Restrictions imposed in Srinagar; schools and colleges shut
Government has imposed restrictions under section 144 CrPC in District Srinagar with effect from 1200 Hrs on 5th August 2019 which shall remain in force till further orders. 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.
Identity cards of essential services officials will be treated as movement passes wherever required.
All schools, colleges, and academic institutions, both private and government, shall remain suspended from 5th August till further orders, as a precautionary measure, said Indu Kanwal Chib, Deputy Commissioner Reasi (Jammu & Kashmir).
(With PTI and ANI inputs)