National Conference (NC) president Dr. Farooq Abdullah and vice-president Omar Abdullah were placed under house arrest in Srinagar on Sunday, on the second anniversary of the Pulwama attack in 2019 that left 40 CRPF jawans dead.
Posting pictures of police vehicles barricading the gates of the house on Gupkar Road, Mr. Omar Abdullah said, “This is the “ naya /new J&K” after Aug 2019. We get locked up in our homes with no explanation. It’s bad enough they’ve locked my father (a sitting MP) and me in our home, they’ve locked my sister and her kids in their home as well.”
He said the restrictions were placed “without any explanation”. “Your new model of democracy means that we are kept in our homes, but on top of that the staff that works in the house aren’t being allowed in and then you are surprised that I’m still angry and bitter,” Mr. Abdullah said.
In a joint statement, top NC leaders termed the police’s measures “arbitrary” and a “gross intrusion of fundamental rights”.
“It only exposes the iron fist approach towards J&K and gross violation of human rights . It’s highly condemnable. The undue measure marks a new low in the curtailment of fundamental rights of people of J&K. The measures reveal abnormal is the new normal in this part of the world,” the statement read.
The NC leader said the disdain towards political leaders, who kept the political process alive in Kashmir braving all odds and threats, was appalling.
A police spokesman, however, said the move was part of the elaborate security measures put in place on the anniversary of the Pulwama attack. “There were also directions that no road opening party will be carried out on the ground. Due to adverse inputs, movement of VIPs and protected persons was discouraged and all concerned were informed in advance not to plan a tour today,” the police spokesman said.
However, Mr. Abdullah said he was not informed by the police. The entire Gupkar road, housing senior politicians and officials, was closed for traffic on Sunday.
Meanwhile, an improvised explosive device (IED) was recovered near the general bus stand in Jammu.
“We were on high alert. There were inputs that terror groups were planning an attack on the anniversary of Pulwama attack. Last night, we arrested a person named Sohail and recovered 6-6.5 kg of IED from his possession,” said Mukesh Singh, Inspector General of Police, Jammu.
He said Sohail, a student of a nursing college in Chandigarh, was instructed by Pakistan based outfit Al Badr to place the explosive in Jammu. “Another person, who was arrested on Sunday, hails from Pulwama district and was told to place the explosive in three to four locations,” the police said.
The police added that the arrested youth, Qazi Waseem, in Chandigarh, was also aware of this matter. “We have also arrested a person named Abid Nabi,” the official added.