In recent days, the Centre has deployed at least 10,000 troops in Kashmir. Newspaper reports say the troops were in addition to an estimated 25,000 already stationed in Kashmir, considered among the world’s most militarized regions. (Representative Image)
New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government’s hardline approach to the handling of the Kashmir situation is expected to unravel fully in the next couple of hours even as the Centre deployed more troops and ordered thousands of visitors to leave the strife-torn region.
In short, events in the Valley are now reaching final denouement.
There have been reports of several leading Kashmiri leaders, including the former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar and Mehbooba Mufti, having been taken into preventive custody.
Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code that prevents assembly of five or more persons has been invoked in Srinagar, Anantnag and other sensitive areas of the Kashmir valley. This is not all. Examinations in Jammu University have been postponed and Internet services in parts of Jammu and Kashmir have been suspended to prevent rumour mongers from unleashing its anti-India tirade.
Events are reminiscent of the developments of the 1950s and the 1960s when the government arrested Chief Minister Sheikh Abdullah for anti-India activities.
There are unconfirmed reports that the Centre is completing scrapping a constitutional provision that forbids Indians from outside the region from buying land in the Muslim-majority territory.
Authorities imposed an indefinite security lockdown around midnight as Central forces laid steel barricades and razor wire on roads and intersections to cut off neighbourhoods in Srinagar, the region’s main city of the region.
“As per the order there shall be no movement of public and all educational institutions shall also remain closed,” a statement issued by the government said. The statement further said public meetings and rallies have been also banned. The authorities also suspended internet services on cellphones.
In the national capital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a Cabinet meeting to brief colleagues of the government's thinking on the vexed Kashmir issue. The issue of developments is also expected to figure prominently in the Parliament, which is currently in session. There are high chances that Modi could address the Parliament.
There are reports that Modi may address the nation through the television and radio explaining the rationale of the current policy after the Cabinet meeting.
Giving indication of the opposition thinking on the Kashmir developments, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has already tweeted in support of the detained Kashmiri leaders and said they were not alone. The principal opposition party is expected to seek a statement from the Prime Minister on the unfolding events.
However, there were sufficient indications for the past several weeks that the government was thinking of tough measures in the Kashmir valley. Besides movements of troops, government agencies were trying hard to check corruption and the flow of hawala money being used to fan anti-India campaign to break the back of the separatists.
In recent days, the Centre has deployed at least 10,000 troops in Kashmir. Newspaper reports say the troops were in addition to an estimated 25,000 already stationed in Kashmir, considered among the world’s most militarized regions.
Reports reaching the Indian Capital said firing continued unabated along the LOC that separates the two, warring neighbours.
Pakistan had also sought to aggravate the situation in strife torn State by regularly sending armed infiltrators. Five of the Pakistani Border Action Team men were killed yesterday. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has already sought US President Donald Trump intervention to resolve the Kashmir issue and bring peace to region. India continues to maintain that all issues with its northern region can be resolved bilaterally without third party intervention.