NEW DELHI: Former Union Minister P Chidambaram today criticised the government over the house arrest of politicians in Jammu and Kashmir amid concerns over a massive troop build-up in the state. Mobile internet and landline phone connections have been snapped in parts of the state today.
“I had warned of a misadventure in J&K. It seems the government is determined to embark upon one. The house arrest of J&K leaders is a signal that the government will defy all democratic norms and principles to achieve its objects. I condemn the house arrests,” Mr Chidambaram tweeted.
The developments have triggered speculation about plans to modify the special status granted to the state under the Constitution – a highly emotive issue linked to the rights of its residents.
“Before the day is over we will know if there will be a major crisis in J&K. Keeping my fingers crossed,” Mr Chidambaram tweeted.
Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and People’s Conference’s Sajad Lone – the three most prominent politicians from Jammu and Kashmir – were placed under house arrest late on Sunday.
Mr Chidambaram’s colleague and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also tweeted to express solidarity with Mr Abdullah. “You are not alone Omar Abdullah. Every Indian democrat will stand with the decent mainstream leaders in Kashmir as you face up to whatever the government has in store for our country. Parliament is still in session and our voices will not be stilled,” Mr Tharoor Tweeted.
On Sunday, Ms Mufti, Mr Abdullah and leaders from all political parties from the state held a meeting and issued a resolution, warning the centre of “consequences” if it changed the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
In a series of tweets, Mr Abdullah said he was not sure of what was “in store” for the state, “but it doesn’t look good”. “While I’ve been focused on Kashmir I must add a word for people in Kargil, Ladakh & Jammu. I’ve no idea what is in store for our state but it doesn’t look good. I know many of you will be upset by what unfolds. Please don’t take the law in to your own hands, please stay calm,” he tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah met for an hour this morning before a cabinet meeting at the PM’s residence in Delhi. Mr Shah will give a statement in parliament at 11 am.
Tension in Jammu and Kashmir spiked on Friday with the state administration scrapping the Amarnath Yatra and asking pilgrims and tourists to leave the valley at the earliest. The order made anxious residents throng markets to stock on essentials and serpentine queues have been visible outside shops and fuel stations.
Additional paramilitary forces – as many as 35,000 – which were flown in last week, have been deployed across Srinagar and in other sensitive areas of Kashmir valley, officials said.