NEW DELHI: A cabinet meeting is taking place at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence in Delhi amid uncertainty in Jammu and Kashmir and an unprecedented lockdown that included the midnight house arrest of politicians in the state including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah. Just before the meeting, Home Minister Amit Shah met with Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
One of the most important panels, the Cabinet Committee on Security, includes the Prime Minister, Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar, will also meet today.
The meetings are hugely significant against the backdrop of the turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir, where there has been a massive build-up of troops over the weekend. On Friday, the government in an unusual advisory asked Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and tourists to leave the state “immediately”, spiking fear in the Valley, where residents rushed to stock up on essentials and fuel.
The restrictions have been enforced amid apprehension expressed by Jammu and Kashmir politicians that there may be plans to modify special status granted to the state under the Constitution through Article 35A and Article 370.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti and Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone were all placed under house arrest on Sunday night.
“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,” tweeted Omar Abdullah.
Many political leaders, including Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and Communist Party of India-Marxist chief Sitaram Yechury, came out in his support.
Earlier on Sunday, the National Conference leader had expressed fears that the centre’s action of halting the Amarnath Yatra and recalling tourists from the state was a sign of bigger things to come.
All major political parties in the state met at the residence of Farooq Abdullah, National Conference chief and his father, to discuss the centre’s actions in the Valley and fears that they may be part of a larger effort to repeal the state’s special status.
Farooq Abdullah, reading out a resolution adopted at the meeting, said the parties will send delegations to meet President Ram Nath Kovind as well as PM Modi to apprise them about the “consequences” of any attempt to tinker with Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution, or carry out delimitation of constituencies or trifurcation of the state.