Former occupied Kashmir leadership under house arrest as India imposes lockdown

Former chief ministers Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti placed under house arrest as tensions mount

Web Desk
Former IoK chief ministers Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti were placed under house arrest as tensions mounted

Indian authorities have imposed a lockdown across parts of Occupied Kashmir and placed the region’s former leadership under house arrest as tensions mount in the disputed valley.

Former chief ministers of Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK), Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, were placed under house arrest late Sunday night as curfew-like restrictions were imposed in the region.

"As per the order there shall be no movement of public and all educational institutions shall also remain closed," a statement by the government of Jammu and Kashmir, which is currently under the central rule, said on Sunday.

"There will be a complete bar on holding any kind of public meetings or rallies during the period of operation of this order."

Universities, schools and colleges in the region were ordered to be shut.

Several major districts were also placed under restrictions, local media reported.

The latest tensions started in the last 10 days after New Delhi deployed at least 10,000 troops. A security source told AFP a further 70,000 had been deployed, which is believed to be an unprecedented level.

The Indian government has introduced other security measures - including a call to stock up food and fuel.

The measures have sparked growing panic among residents, who formed long queues outside petrol stations, food stores and cash machines. 

According to Greater Kashmir and other local media, the authorities also suspended internet services on mobile phones in the disputed valley.

Medical facilities were also put on an emergency mode, a senior official was quoted as saying by local media on condition of anonymity. 

Omar Abdullah posted on Twitter that he was being placed under house arrest and that a similar process had already started for other leaders.

"I believe I’m being placed under house arrest from midnight tonight and 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 wrote.

Mehbooba Mufti, president of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party, shared on Twitter: "Hearing reports about internet being snapped soon including cellular coverage. Curfew passes being issued too. God knows what awaits us tomorrow. It’s going to be a long night.”

UN appeals to India, Pakistan for restraint 

The United Nations appealed to India and Pakistan to exercise "maximum restraint" amid escalating tensions between the two countries along the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Kashmir region.

"The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan observed and reported an increase in military activity at the Line of Control in recent days," UN Secretary-General's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement e-mailed to APP UN correspondent in response to a question.

"The United Nations appeals to both sides to exercise maximum restraint to ensure that the situation does not further deteriorate," the statement added.