Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti arrested; Kashmir on edge as Art 370 scrapped
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, who were under house arrest since Sunday night, have been arrested, news agency Press Trust of India quoted unnamed officials as saying on Monday.
Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference leaders Sajjad Lone and Imran Ansari have also been arrested, the officials said. Some more arrests have been made, the officials said, without sharing details.
The arrests come hours after the Centre proposed the revocation of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and proposed the bifurcation of the state into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Mehbooba Mufti were placed under house arrest on Sunday night, hours after the two leaders, along with other leaders, 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.
On Monday, after the Centre’s move to end Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, Mufti, a former ally of the Centre’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said, “Today the people of Jammu & Kashmir who reposed their faith in institutions of India like parliament & Supreme Court feel defeated & betrayed. By dismembering the state & fraudulently taking away what is rightfully & legally ours, they have further complicated the Kashmir dispute.”
Abdullah echoed her outrage. “Government of India’s unilateral and shocking decisions today are a total betrayal of the trust that the people of Jammu & Kashmir had reposed in India when the state acceded to it in 1947. The decisions will have far-reaching and dangerous consequences. This is an aggression against people of the State...,” he said.
In a blog, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the move was a monumental decision towards national integration. Asserting that separate status led to separatism, he said that no dynamic nation could allow this situation to continue. “A historical wrong has been undone today. Article 35A came through the back door without following the procedure under Article 368 of the Constitution of India. It had to go,” he said.