Jammu and Kashmir no longer has special status under Article 370 of the constitution and will soon become two union territories once parliament clears the move – historic decisions that were announced by Home Minister Amit Shah in parliament on Monday amid a severe security lockdown in the state.
A top official has indicated that the lockdown may be for the long haul, amid fear of a backlash over the Article 370 decision. Kashmir Valley has more than 3 months’ food supply, Principal Secretary, Planning Commission in Srinagar, Rohit Kansal said.
“Kashmir valley has more than three months’ supply of rice, wheat, mutton, eggs and fuel. There will be no shortage of food or civil supplies in the state,” Mr Kansal said.
Essential supplies had been stocked and distributed across the Valley, he added.
The two former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, who were arrested yesterday and sent to a guest house, are still in custody.
Thousands of security personnel are in the state; 8,500 troops joined the over 35,000 soldiers sent to Jammu and Kashmir over the past few days.
All phones, internet services and cable networks in parts of the state were cut at midnight on Sunday, and restrictions were put in place against rallies and gatherings.
The communications blackout has left many without phone services or access to the internet still.
According to a government spokesperson, people who want to travel to the Kashmir Valley can use their air tickets as a pass to be shown to security forces.
In its preparation for the big announcement, the government had on Friday asked Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and tourists to leave Kashmir immediately.
On Monday, Amit Shah told parliament the president had issued a decree removing special status for Kashmir under Article 370, which was key to its accession to India in 1947. The decree said the measure came into force “at once”.
Amid uproar among many opposition parties, Amit Shah said: “Kashmir was a paradise, is a paradise and will remain a paradise.”