Restrictions imposed across Jammu region; high alert on India-Pak border
Authorities clamped restrictions on all 10 districts of Jammu region late on Sunday as they imposed prohibitory orders, snapped mobile internet connection and shut educational institutions after similar steps in the Kashmir Valley.
Several local leaders, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, claimed they were placed under “house arrest” as officials imposed restrictions on the movement of people in Srinagar and across the Valley and suspended mobile data services.
The restive state has been on the edge since Friday when authorities suspended the Amarnath Yatra over security concerns and asked pilgrims and tourists to leave “immediately” forcing residents stock up on essentials and fuel.
Before that, there has been massive security build-up in the state.
Jammu, the summer capital of the restive state, woke up to deserted roads on Monday morning as police personnel made announcements urging people to stay indoors after the assembly of four or more people in public places was banned under section 144 of CrPC.
The administration also snapped mobile internet services across the region at around 12.30am.
“All schools, colleges and academic institutions, both private and government, are advised to remain closed as a measure of caution,” Jammu deputy commissioner Sushma Chauhan said in an order.
“This step has been taken in view of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir following the multi-fold increase in the security deployment due to threat perception,” read the order.
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Similar orders were issued by the deputy commissioners of nine other districts in the region.
More than 500 students from NIT Srinagar, who had reached Jammu on Sunday, were given food and sent homes in a special train.
The Indian Army and Border Security Force (BSF) have also been put on a high alert along the Line of Control and International Border.
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Additional reinforcements of around 40 companies of paramilitary forces were also deployed across the region, especially in Ramban, Kishtwar, Doda, Rajouri and Poonch districts.
An official said that six companies in Jammu, two in Samba, two in Kathau, four in Udhampur, one in Reasi, eight in Rajouri, six in Poonch and 11 in Doda region have been deployed to maintain law and order.
“Though nothing has been told to us, we also anticipate a decision on Article 35-A and probably that is why over 35,000 paramilitary personnel have been deployed across the state,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Authorities also imposed night curfew in Kishtwar and Rajouri districts and Banihal area of Ramban district on Sunday.
Security across Jammu region was strengthened earlier with the additional deployment of paramilitary forces, including Rapid Action Force (RAF) in several districts, especially in the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri and Doda region.
No adverse reports poured from any of the 10 districts till 10am with people cautiously watching the development unfolding in Delhi.
On Sunday, leaders of political parties met in Srinagar and resolved to protect and defend the “identity, autonomy and special status” of Jammu and Kashmir. The situation in the state was discussed at the all-party meeting, which was held at the residence of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah.
“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.
Governor Satya Pal Malik has dismissed reports that preparations are being made for an announcement on Article 35A and Article 370 or on the trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir by creating three states of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, as has been rumoured in the state.
Article 35A reserves government employment and property ownership to permanent residents of the state. Article 370 confers special status on Kashmir.