J&K Ex-Chief Ministers Under House Arrest, Internet Blocked: 10 Points

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik held a late-night meeting with top officials shortly after mainstream politicians of the state tweeted they had been placed under house arrest.

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Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Sajad Lone have been placed under house arrest.

Srinagar:  Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Sajad Lone, the three most prominent politicians from Jammu and Kashmir, were placed under house arrest after midnight on Sunday in an unprecedented lockdown that follows a massive security build-up and a first-ever government advisory asking Amarnath pilgrims and tourists to leave Kashmir immediately. Mobile internet and phone connections have been blocked in many places and public meetings or rallies have been banned in Srinagar and parts of the state. The rapid escalation of security measures fueled speculation about plans to modify the special status granted to the state under the constitution. Against the tense backdrop, the spotlight was on a cabinet meeting at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's residence this morning. PM Modi also had a one-on-one meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah ahead of the cabinet meet. Mr Shah is expected to make a statement in parliament today.
Here are the latest updates on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir:
  1. The Jammu and Kashmir government declared a "complete bar" on public meetings or rallies but asserted that there would be no curfew. Governor Satya Pal Malik held a late-night meeting with top officials shortly after mainstream politicians of the state tweeted they had been placed under house arrest.
  2. "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," tweeted former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, the chief of the Peoples Democratic Party. 
  3. Her predecessor Omar Abdullah, National Conference leader, wrote: "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."
  4. Earlier on Sunday, Ms Mufti, Mr Abdullah and leaders from all political parties from the state held a meeting and issued a resolution, warning the government of "consequences" if it changed the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
  5. Mobile phones, landlines and internet services have been affected in parts of the state. Services have been suspended in many areas in Kashmir Valley as a precaution, police said. Satellite phones have reportedly been provided to officials for communication.
  6. Schools and colleges are closed in Kashmir and Jammu and various institutions have directed their students to vacate hostels. In Ladakh, said officials, educational institutions would function as there are no restrictions in the region.
  7. Kashmir remained on edge on Sunday as authorities stepped up security deployment at vital installations and sensitive areas and enforced curfew-like restrictions citing heightened terror threat and a flare-up of hostilities with Pakistan along the Line of Control.
  8. The uncertainty spiked on Friday with the Jammu and Kashmir administration scrapping the Amarnath Yatra and asking pilgrims and tourists to leave the valley at the earliest. Soon after, anxious residents rushed to stock up on essentials and queued up at shops and fuel stations.
  9. Additional paramilitary forces - as many as 35,000 - which were flown in last week, have been deployed across Srinagar and in other sensitive areas of Kashmir Valley, officials said. Barricades have been erected on many arterial roads, including the entry and exit points to Srinagar. Riot control vehicles have also been kept on standby in some areas where there are apprehensions of unrest, the officials added.
  10. The dramatic security clampdown stoked fears that the centre may have plans to modify or do away with Article 35A of the constitution, which gives exclusive rights to the state's residents in government jobs and land, or Article 370 which gives autonomous status to the state.




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Highlights

1
Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Sajad Lone under house arrest
2
Mobile internet, phone connections blocked in many parts of the state
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Against the tense backdrop, PM held a cabinet meeting

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