Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah addresses a press conference, in Srinagar, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019.(Photo:PTI)
Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah addresses a press conference, in Srinagar, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019.(Photo:PTI)

Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti under ‘house arrest’; restrictions in Kashmir

Authorities imposed restrictions under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which bars the assembly of more than four persons, from midnight in Srinagar.
By Mir Ehsan | Srinagar
UPDATED ON AUG 05, 2019 09:48 AM IST

National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Mehbooba Mufti would not be allowed to move out of their houses in view of strict security measures that would come into force on Sunday midnight, officials told news agency PTI, hours after the two leaders, along with other politicians, attended an all-party meeting that resolved to seek an audience with President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the security situation in the state.

Authorities imposed restrictions under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which bars the assembly of more than four persons, from midnight in Srinagar. They would remain in place till further orders, prohibiting public movement and public meetings. Educational institutes will remain closed but people delivering essential services will have to produce their identity cards on demand, a government order said. There was no curfew though.

Police officials did not confirm that Mufti and Omar Abdullah were placed under house arrest.

“I was not allowed by police to go inside the house of former CM [Mufti]. I was told by officials neither I can go inside the house nor anybody from inside the house of former CM is allowed to come out,” said PDP youth wing president Waheed ur Rehman.

Late at night, Abdullah posted on Twitter that he believed that he was placed “under house arrest from midnight tonight & the process has already started for other mainstream leaders”.

He appealed to the people in the Valley to stay calm, and added: “...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...”

Mufti posted: “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.”

Congress leader Usman Majid and Communist Party of India (Marxist) legislator MY Tarigami too claimed they were arrested on Sunday night.

However, no official confirmation was immediately available.

Earlier in the day, leaders of political parties who met in Srinagar decided to meet the President, Prime Minister and other leaders, resolving to protect and defend the identity, autonomy and special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

At the all-party meeting, which was held at the residence of former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah, the situation in the state was discussed.

“It was unanimously resolved that all parties would be united with their resolve to protect and defend identity, autonomy and special status of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh against all attacks and onslaughts whatsoever, modification abrogation of Article 35A, 370, unconstitutional delimitation, trifurcation of the state would be an aggression against the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” said Omar Abdullah’s father, Farooq Abdullah, reading from a copy of the resolution.

The meeting was attended by Mufti, Omar Abdullah, Taj Mohiuddin (Congress), Muzaffar Beig (PDP), Sajad Lone and Imran Ansari (People’s Conference), Shah Faesal (J&K Peoples Movement) and MY Tarigami (CPI-M).

The focus, the parties said, was on standing united in the struggle for safeguarding the identity.

The leaders also appealed to India and Pakistan that they should never take any step that will create tension between the two countries

Before the meeting, Mufti said the parties had decided to hold a meeting at a hotel, but hotel managements have been asked by police not to host any political functions.

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