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Behind the scenes: A busy Sunday and how by Monday, Article 370 was scrapped


New Delhi, Aug 06: It was a tense Sunday and the discussions at highest levels were all focused around Jammu and Kashmir.

Several assessments had been carried out in the run up to a big announcement that was set to be made on Monday. The security was tight and the additional build up of troops in the Valley had fuelled a lot of speculation.

Security forces in Jammu and Kashmir after governments decision to revoke Article 370 (PTI Image)

Those privy to the decision were worried as to how the Valley would react once the decision to scrap Article 370 was made. While security remained tight, any small information leak would have triggered off violence.

Five reasons why Article 370 had to go

It was then decided on Sunday that both the former chief ministers, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti should be placed under house arrest, so that they do not mobilise people.

There was not an iota of doubt in the minds of the decision makers that this decision should be delayed. Further National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval said that the sentiment was in sync with their decision.

During the initial meetings, it was discussed that they should scrap Article 35A first instead. However, there was always that lurking danger that the US may offer a lollipop to Pakistan in return for the favour on an Afghanistan deal. The establishment felt that it was better to do away with Article 370 as it fully integrate Jammu and Kashmir with India.

This would mean that India would have no reason to list Kashmir as a subject when it negotiates with Pakistan. The scrapping of the Article only meant that this is now a completely internal issue.

Interestingly, like all other decisions taken by the Modi government, there was palpable tension, suspense and the government ensured that none got wind of what was coming.

It all began with the Centre moving an additional 10,000 troops to the Valley. This order by the Union Home Ministry fuelled plenty of speculations. A week later, the Union Government once again approved the deployment of 100 companies in Jammu and Kashmir, which gave room to further speculation.

Government sources were tight lipped and the official world was that they were only catering to the security situation in the Valley. All these developments came in the wake of the government saying that both the number of terrorists and their recruitment has gone down.

A war like situation was emerging and some even speculated that India would go to war. Other felt that India was set to take over Pakistan occupied Kashmir. All these developments were going on in the midst of the Amarnath Yatra.

However panic struck, when the government announced on Friday that the Yatra is being called off. When asked why the same was being done, the official response was that Pakistan was looking to hit the Yatris.

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This move was followed with a directive to the Indian Army and Air Force to remain on a state of high operational alert. This was followed by the snapping of internet services on Sunday night. Further landlines had stopped functioning in several parts of Srinagar, to ensure that the information flow is blocked.

Further the government also put in place mobile magistrates, who were assisting the security forces with speedy arrests. Scores were arrested and housed in temporary jails. The final confirmation about something big about to happen came when Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were placed under house arrest.

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