The state of Jammu and Kashmir witnessed ‘unprecedented’ turn of events past Sunday midnight when two former Chief Ministers, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti along with other prominent mainstream politicians were put under house arrest after the imposition of section 144 in Srinagar.
Early in the evening, representatives of different political parties had assembled at the residence of Dr. Farooq Abdullah where they had passed a resolution warning the central government against tinkering with the special status of the state.
These leaders were repeatedly seeking clarity from the Union government and after they failed to get satisfactory answers they too raised the bar and passed a resolution. They were nervous for the last couple of days especially after the center had rushed additional companies of paramilitary forces in the state to take care of the law and order situation.
On the other hand, J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik also convened a high-level security review meeting, past midnight, which was attended by state Chief Secretary, senior advisors, and DGP in Raj Bhawan.
In the absence of any official confirmation, both Omar and Mehbooba informed their followers on Twitter about their 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 tweeted.
Mehbooba tweeted, “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.”
Peoples Conference Chairman, Sajjad Lone, Jammu & Kashmir Congress leader Usman Majid and CPI(M) MLA MY Tarigami was also put under house arrest, official sources said.
Meanwhile, the state government has imposed restrictions under section 144 CrPC in Srinagar with effect from midnight August 5 which shall remain in force till further orders. According to the order, there will be a complete bar on holding any kind of public meetings or rallies during the period of operation of this order.
Deputy Commissioner of Jammu Sushma Chauhan said on Sunday night, “All schools, colleges, and academic institutions, both private and Government, are advised to remain closed as a measure of caution.”
Similarly, educational institutions will remain closed across, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur, Reasi, Ramban, Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu region as well.
Earlier, security across Jammu region was strengthened with additional deployment of paramilitary forces, including Rapid Action Force (RAF), in various districts especially in the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri, they said.
State political parties warn center against tampering with the special status of the state
Amid rising political uncertainty and nervousness, political rivals assembled at the residence of Dr. Farooq Abdullah and sent an unequivocal message that when it came to protecting the special status enjoyed by the State, they stood shoulder to shoulder.
Burying their own political differences, the representatives of mainstream political parties along with the Congress resolved to protect and defend the identity, autonomy and the special status of the State against all attacks and onslaughts — whatsoever.
After chairing the all-party meeting, National Conference president and Member of Parliament from Srinagar, Farooq Abdullah, told reporters, “During the all-party meeting it was unanimously resolved that all the parties, will be united in their resolve to protect and defend the identity, autonomy and the special status of the State against all attacks and onslaughts what so ever”.
Reading out the text of the resolution passed during the meeting he said, “Modification, abrogation of Article 35-A, 370, unconstitutional delimitation or trifurcation of the State would be an aggression against the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.”
Farooq Abdullah also said the political parties in this meeting resolved to seek audience with the President of India, the Prime Minister and also other leaders of the political parties to apprise them of the current situation and make an appeal to them to safeguard the legitimate interest of the people with regard to the constitutional guarantees given to the State by the Constitution of our country.”
“The political representatives will also apprise them of the ‘unwholesome’ consequences, both short and long term, bound to follow the ‘unconstitutional’ violation of these guarantees. The representatives of the political parties also resolved to remain united and stand together for safeguarding the identity, autonomy and special status of the State.
The all-party meet was also attended by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, senior National Conference leaders and party MP’s Mohd Akbar Lone, Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi, Mohd Ali Sagar and Congress was represented by former Cabinet Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din, Sajjad Lone and Imran Raza Ansari of Peoples Conference, Shah Faesal Chairman of Peoples’ United Front, Muzaffar Ahmad Shah, President of Awami National Conference.
Farooq Abdullah also appealed to the people of Jammu & Kashmir to keep peace and calm in the Valley.
“I also appeal to both the countries, India & Pakistan not to take any step that may accelerate the tension between the two countries,” he said.
Mehbooba Mufti served notice by Anti Corruption Bureau in J&K Bank appointment scam
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has asked PDP Chief and former CM Mehbooba Mufti to explain her position before it regarding the illegal appointments in Jammu and Kashmir Bank.
The ACB is currently investigating complaints of financial irregularities and illegal appointments in the Jammu and Kashmir Bank.
In a letter No: SSP/ACBK/FIR-10/2019/3064 dated 03-08-2019, Senior Superintendent of Police, ACB, has asked Mehbooba, “During the course of investigation of case FIR No 10/2019, police station ACKB dated 08-06-2019, it has surfaced that some appointments were made by chairman J&K Bank on references and recommendations of few Ministers.”
“It may please be clarified whether such references had your endorsement, verbal or otherwise for appointments in J&K Bank,” it added.
Reacting to the media reports and hate campaign in social media, Mehbooba claimed she is not surprised to receive a letter from ACB.
“Not surprised to receive a letter from the ACB. Concerted efforts are being made to browbeat mainstream leaders & thwart potential efforts for a collective response. I am too small an entity vis-a-vis the cause that unites us today. Such tactics won’t work (sic),” she tweeted.
In another related development, former Independent MLA from Langate, Er Rashid was also grilled by the Enforcement Directorate in New Delhi on Sunday.
Reacting to the development, Peoples United Front (PUF) leader Shah Faesal Sunday condemned National Investigation Agency (NIA) summons to AIP Chief Er. Rashid, calling it a deliberate attempt to intimidate the mainstream leadership in J&K.
Defending Er. Rashid, Faesal said that he has become a voice of the masses and at a time when Kashmir is going through an unprecedented crisis, calling Er. Rashid is only meant to disallow him from indulging in any political activity.
“Er. Rashid’s credentials as a public person are known to everyone but his outspoken nature and a unique stance on Kashmir seems to have rattled some interests in Delhi. It’s surprising that a person who has been an elected MLA is being treated in the most unfair manner,” Shah Faesal asserted.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.