All that's happened in Kashmir over the last 72 hours – from movement of troops to suspension of internet to political leaders under house arrest
- On August 2, thousands of
Amarnath Yatrapilgrims were asked to leave Kashmirimmediately.
- Since then, section 144 has been imposed, internet services have been suspended, political leaders like
Omar Abdullahand Mehbooba Muftihave been placed under house arrest.
- Union Home Minister Amit Shah reportedly held a meeting to discuss the recent developments in Kashmir.
Making matters worse is a series of speculation by both news outfits as well as on social media that has led to people fearing the worst and hoarding food and necessities.
The radio silence from New Delhi, while building up troops in the valley, in the face of rampant speculation has added to the unease, particularly in the Kashmir valley. The speculations range from the abrogation of Article 35A and Section 370 of the Indian Constitution to the splitting up of the state into 3 parts – Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh.
However, there has been no clear evidence to suggest any of the above.
Let us look at all that has happened over the last three days that have intensified tensions in Kashmir leading to warnings from Pakistan too.
Security beefed up
The state of Jammu & Kashmir has been under President’s rule since December 2018 and now, section 144, which prohibits an assembly of more than 4 people in an area, has been imposed.
"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. However, there is no curfew in place as reported in a section of media," an official statement said as reported by IANS.
The government had already deployed an additional paramilitary personnel of 10,000 in the state. According to reports, riot control vehicles too have been deployed in the state.
The state’s top political leaders were placed under house arrest late Sunday night.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took to Twitter to write about the imminent 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,” he wrote on Twitter.
His rival, and a former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti wrote, “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.”
Life comes to a standstill
Internet services have been suspended since Sunday night in the state. Meanwhile, education institutions in the state too have been asked to remain shut from today until further orders. Kashmir university exams which were supposed to take place from August 5 to 10 have been postponed, according to IANS.
BSNL will be giving satellite phones to media persons at the steep price of ₹1 lakh a piece to file stories from the Valley, said an IANS report.
However, according to ANI, schools and colleges will reopen today in Ladakh as restrictions under Section 144 CrPC have not been imposed in the region.
Security meeting in Pakistan
In Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan called for a meeting of the National Security Committee to discuss the developments along the border and reportedly, react to any steps taken by the Indian military.
While Pakistan alleged that the Indian army used cluster bombs along the Line Of Control, the Indian army has said it was to foil an attempt by Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT) to cross over to the Indian side of the border.
"Pakistan army regularly attempts to push terrorists through infiltration and opens up with multitude of weapons to assist them. India, during numerous Directorate of Military Operations-level talks, has maintained the right to respond. Such responses are only against military targets and infiltrating terrorists who are aided by Pakistan Army. Allegations of firing of cluster bombs by India is yet another Pakistan's lie and deception," the Indian army said in a statement.
Cabinet meeting in India
Meanwhile, in Delhi, Union Minister Amit Shah is said to have held a security meeting including National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to discuss the situation in Kashmir. Other senior officials at the meeting included, Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Intelligence Bureau chief Arvind Kumar, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief Samant Kumar Goel. According to an IANS report, Shah is reportedly planning to visit the state.
All the restrictions imposed on the Kashmir valley starting Monday
Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti are placed under house arrest