Kashmir: Residences of former CMs remain out of bounds

Police personnel block the road near the residences of former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti during curfew like restrictions on the 13th consecutive day, following the abrogation of the provisions Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, in Srinagar. (PTI Photo)

The official residences of two former chief ministers – Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti – on posh Gupkar road, here, along with residences of dozens of former legislators and political leaders remain out of bounds for people.

The residences of Omar and Mehbooba, who continued to remain in custody for the 15th consecutive day on Monday, have been barricaded and no one is allowed to enter inside. While walking on the highly forfeited Gupkar road, one can see bulletproof vehicles of paramilitary forces have blocked the main entrance of Mehbooba’s residence.

The regional PDP president, Mehbooba is undergoing detention at nearby Hari Nawas while National Conference leader Omar has been lodged a few kilometres away at a government guest house in Cheshmai Shahi area. “Only top security officials have access inside the posh Fair View residence of Mehbooba. As Omar’s residence is very near to his dad Farooq’s, a strict vigil is being maintained to ensure nobody enters or leaves without permission,” a senior officer told DH.

With Center revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and reorganising the state into two union territories, the two former CMs will have to vacate their official residences in the coming days. “As per the state rules, the former CMs were entitled to official accommodations, they were holding when in power. However, now with J&K becoming a union territory, the rules no more remain and as such Omar and Mehbooba will have to vacate the government accommodations,” he said.

Another former CM and Congress Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad also has an official accommodation in the same vicinity and in the coming weeks, he too will have to vacate it, the officer added.

However, the residence of another former CM, Farooq Abdullah on the Gupkar is owned by him. Senior Abdullah, who represents Central Kashmir parliament constituency in the Lok Sabha, continues to remain under house detention.

Kashmir was placed under a total clampdown on August 5, hours before Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced in the Rajya Sabha that the special status for the state had been revoked and J&K has been bifurcated into two union territories.

Omar, Mehbooba and dozens of other high profile politicians were taken into ‘preventive custody’ to ensure there are no protests and rallies against the Center’s decision. Since then thousands of gun-wielding troops patrol deserted streets that are barricaded with razor wires, and residents mainly remain locked inside their homes.

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