Srinagar: A curfew and a total communication blackout are in place in Kashmir with the government on Monday proposing to revoke Article 370 giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
In the morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with his Cabinet colleagues but there was no clarity on what the plan for Kashmir was until Home Minister Amit Shah introduced a Bill in the Rajya Sabha seeking to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution and dissolve the state into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh without one.
With a communication shutdown in place, majority of the Kashmiris are still unaware of the decision on their fate.
Forty-year-old Nuzhat living in uptown Chanpora in Srinagar has stocked up milk and food for her two-year-old child but she is worried what is going to happen if the baby falls ill. A curfew will restrict her from taking her child to the doctor.
"My baby frequently suffers from chest infection. If a health emergency arises, I may not be able to take my boy to the doctor," a deeply disturbed Nuzhat said while breaking down.
Kashmir has remained in the grip of tension for the last 10 days with the Central government deploying thousands of paramilitary troops in the state without any clarification for the build up.
The order read, "Keeping in view the largest intelligence inputs of terror threats with specific targeting of the Amarnath Yatra and given the prevailing security situation in the Kashmir valley in the interest of safety and security of tourists and Amarnath Yatris, it is advised that they may curtail their stay in the valley immediately and take necessary steps to return as soon as possible."
No curbs on essential service providers: DM
Jammu District Magistrate Sushma Chauhan said government employees engaged in essential services and in supply of essential commodities were allowed hassle-free passage, following imposition of Section 144.
It would also not apply to safai karmcharis of Jammu Municipal Corporation, employees or assistants of Jammu railway station, employees of Indigo, Air Vistara, Go Air, SpiceJet, Air India and other airlines deployed at Jammu airport, passengers travelling with a valid air, rail or bus ticket for an onward journey, newspaper distributors, milk distributors and food suppliers. She said employees of oil companies too can have hassle-free movement on showing valid ID cards.
By Zaffar Iqbal