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'No idea what's in store for state,' say Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, others as tension grips Kashmir

While top J&K leaders like former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have taken to Twitter to protest developments in Kashmir and warned about consequences, Congress stalwarts take the opportunity to take potshots at the Modi government

twitter-logo BusinessToday.In        Last Updated: August 5, 2019  | 10:14 IST
ar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, others as tension grips Kashmir
JKNC leader Omar Abdullah expressed concerns over communal violence in the Pir Panchal and Chenab Valley regions in response to the happenings in the state

Fast-paced developments in Kashmir over this weekend has put the troubled state on edge again. Massive troop deployment in the Valley on Saturday fanned speculation that the Centre is moving to repeal Article 35A, as promised in its election manifesto. On Sunday, regional parties in the state unanimously resolved to fight any attempt to abrogate the constitutional provisions, which grant exclusive rights to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) residents in government jobs and land.

The meeting held at National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah's residence was attended by Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah (NC), Congress Party's Taj Mohiuddin, Sajad Lone and Imran Ansari  from the Peoples Conference, Shah Faesal (J&K Peoples Movement) and CPI-M's M.Y. Tarigami. Reading out the resolution adopted at the meeting, described as "Gupkar Declaration", Abdullah senior said the parties have decided to send delegations to meet the president, the prime minister and leaders of various political parties to apprise them about the consequences of any attempt to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution or carry out delimitation of constituencies or trifurcating the state.

Since then, the authorities have placed three top leaders in the state under house arrest last night, including former J&K chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, suspended mobile internet services in Jammu and other places, and imposed Section 144 from 6 am today.

The politicians in the state have taken to Twitter to encapsulate the current confusion in the state and flag off concerns of violence. "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," Omar Abdullah tweeted last night.

In subsequent tweets he acknowledged that the people of the state "don't know what is in store" but exhorted them to stay calm. He added that he was especially concerned about the people living in the Pir Panchal & Chenab Valley regions, which have been "very susceptible to attempts at communal violence" and hoped that the government had taken adequate precautions to avoid flare-ups.

"While I've been focused on Kashmir I must add a word for people in Kargil, Ladakh & Jammu. I've no idea what is in store for our state but it doesn't look good. I know many of you will be upset by what unfolds. Please don't take the law in to [sic] your own hands, please stay calm," read another tweet.

"Not sure what lies on the other side of this night but Kashmir and Kashmiris have long endured the unendurable - over and over again. May Allah be with us," Junaid Azim Mattu, the Mayor Of Srinagar, tweeted.

PDP's Mufti also put up a strong fight on social media. "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," she tweeted.

She quickly followed it up with another post saying, "Hope those who accused us of rumour mongering realise that our fears weren't misplaced. Leaders under house arrest, broadband services suspended & section 144 enforced isn't normal by any standard." According to her, those "celebrating the situation" are ignorant about the "far reaching consequences of any unilateral action" taken by the Centre.

"Detained yet again. first detained in Delhi. Then in Sringar [sic] in 1990. Those detention centres were very harsh. Our workers r being sought by the police. My prayers with them. And hope they stay calm," tweeted Peoples Conference leader Sajjad Lone, who is also under house arrest.

Responding to Omar Abdullah's tweet, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted his support. "You are not alone @OmarAbdullah. 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," he posted.

In another post he questioned why J&K leaders were "arrested overnight" for no cause. "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?" the tweet added.

In a similar vein, Congress stalwart P. Chidambaram tweeted that "The house arrest of J&K leaders is a signal that the government will defy all democratic norms and principles to achieve its objects" and condemned the house arrests. "Before the day is over we will know if there will be a major crisis in J&K. Keeping my fingers crossed," he said in another post.

However, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is otherwise very active on social media, is yet to air his opinion.

Also read: Kashmir turmoil Live Updates: Schools, colleges closed, mobile service suspended, Section 144 imposed in J&K

Also read: J&K unrest: Can Article 35A be repealed? What will be the legal ramifications?

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