Article 370: Shock and fear prevail in Kashmir

In Kashmir, the abrogation is seen as violation of the agreement signed between the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union of India in 1950.

Security forces personnel patrol a deserted street during restrictions after the government scrapped special status for Kashmir, in Srinagar. (Reuters Photo)

Four days after Parliament decided to scrap Article 370 of Indian Constitution and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories (Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh) the Valley continues to remain in the grip of shock and fear, with curfew and information blockade crippling normal life.
 
From Sunday night the authorities snapped internet, mobile connectivity and local cable television networks, putting the Valley into a total information blackout. For the residents in Kashmir, the only access to information all these days is through official radio broadcasts and some outstation television channels. 

India scraps Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir | Follow live updates here
 
Authorities have also placed former chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah, another former CM and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, Peoples Conference chairman and former BJP ally, Sajjad Lone and Imran Ansari under ‘preventive custody’
 
A source said that Omar Mehbooba and Lone were taken to government guest houses at Cheshma Shahi in Srinagar and kept in solitary confinement while NC president and Member Parliament Farooq Abdullah has been kept under house arrest.
 
For the fourth consecutive day, the residents continued to remain locked inside their homes with no access to essential supplies like food and medicine. Only reporters of television channels are visible on the streets along with security forces for the last four days.
 
The strict crackdown started in advance to thwart any public protests against the Centre’s unexpected decision to revoke Article 370. In the absence of any communication channels, it took some time for the news of abrogation to reach the Valley. 
 
Since the Valley is still reeling from communication blackout, large parts of Kashmir are still unaware about the scrapping of the provision. Reports of stray incidents of stone pelting continue to rock the Valley. 
 
In Kashmir, the abrogation is seen as a violation of the agreement signed between the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union of India in 1950. According to clause 3 of Article 370, the article shall "cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications" as notified by the President of India by public notification.
 
The communication blockade has created chaos throughout the Valley with people worried about the well being of their kith and kin. People are anxiously waiting for the government to remove the communication blockade and allow them to have access to basic facilities. 
 
Thousands of outside state labourers were seen rushing out of the Valley through whichever mode of transport available. 
 
Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik, however, on Wednesday evening reviewed the law and order scenario in the state and was informed that the overall situation was satisfactory. 
 
“The governor reviewed the status of prevailing security and law and order scenario in the state, in the aftermath of developments in Parliament relating to Jammu and Kashmir. He was informed that the overall situation in the state has remained satisfactory in all manners with no untoward incident reported from anywhere. People were seen in markets buying their daily provisions, emergency services in hospitals are functioning, electricity and water supply running satisfactorily and there is sufficient availability of essential supplies,” an official spokesperson said in a statement.
 
The governor directed deputy commissioners of respective districts to depute their staff to visit different localities and take stock of requirements of people and address them swiftly. He reiterated his concern for ensuring the safety of the general public and advised his administration to give due consideration to the genuine needs of people in the current scenario, the spokesperson added.

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