Ahead of Supreme Court verdict on Article 370, leaders put under house arrest, convoy movement and classes suspended in J-K

Ahead of the Supreme Court verdict on the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Centre’s August 2019 decision to abrogate the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution, the Jammu and Kashmir police on Monday morning tightened security and put several political leaders under house arrest.

A five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud had reserved its judgment on September 5, after hearing the petitioners, the Centre, and the J-K administration for 16 days. The bench had heard a slew of petitions challenging the Centre’s move four years ago.

The police put senior political leaders, including two former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, under house arrest. Police sources said Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has also been placed under house detention.

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Locked gate at Farooq and Omar Abdullah’s residence. (Express Photo)

Mufti confirmed to The Indian Express that she has been put under house arrest. “Yes, all the gates (of my residence) have been locked,” she said.

While security has been stepped up, authorities have also suspended classes at the University of Kashmir and the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST). Sources said classes have been suspended to prevent any law and order disturbance in case the apex court dismissed the petitions.

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The J-K administration has also appointed duty magistrates and supervisors for all parts of Srinagar city and asked them to monitor the law and order situation.

In a communication, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, has written to security agencies asking them to suspend the movement of the security convoys on Monday. The communication has also urged the escort vehicles of VIPs to stay away from the “troublesome areas”.

While there is no restriction on civilian movement and the internet is working, police sources said security and intelligence agencies are monitoring social media for any “negative propaganda”.

On Sunday evening, the cyber wing of the J-K Police urged people not to “indulge in propaganda”. “All social media users are advised to use social media platforms responsibly and refrain from sharing rumours, fake news, hate speech or obscene, violent and defamatory content,” read a poster.

“Moreover, social media users are cautioned not to indulge in the propagation of terrorist and secessionist ideology and false narratives. Circulation of any incriminatory content received from other users without verifying actual facts may be avoided and on noticing/receiving any such information, instead of sharing with others, immediately inform Cyber Police Kashmir,” it added.