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'Major decision' expected as Indian home minister addresses house following cabinet meeting on IoK

'Major decision' expected as Indian home minister addresses house following cabinet meeting on IoK

With an indefinite security lockdown in place in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) and elected representatives under house arrest, a cabinet meeting was held on Monday morning at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's residence.

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, who is also the president of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is addressing the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament. Prime Minister Modi is also in attendance.

Chairman of the Rajya Sabha called on Shah to move Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Earlier, India Today reported that a "major decision" was expected to be announced after the cabinet meeting. Journalists as well as opposition members in India have been questioning the reasoning behind the clampdown as well as placing former IoK chief ministers — Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — under house arrest.

Read: Former IoK chief ministers Mufti, Abdullah placed under house arrest; curfew-like restrictions imposed

"While there has been no word from the government on the plan of action, speculation has been rife," the Indian publication added.

The cabinet meeting was held amidst a flurry of activity in the disputed region. The clampdown imposed late Sunday night has left millions stranded in their homes as authorities also suspended some internet services and deployed thousands of fresh troops around the increasingly tense region.

According to India Today, Indian opposition leaders also met in the parliament on Monday morning to discuss the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad met with various party leaders in his office and discussed the security situation.

Threat to scrap occupied Kashmir's special status

The two leaders place under house arrest — Abdullah and Mufti — had earlier warned the Centre against abrogation of Article 35A and Article 370, which gives special status to Kashmiris.

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, reading out a resolution adopted at a meeting of regional parties, said they have decided to send delegations to meet the president, the prime minister and leaders of various political parties to apprise them of the consequences of any attempt to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35A of the constitution or carry out delimitation of constituencies or trifurcating the state, reported India Today.

The ruling BJP in India has consistently advocated an end to occupied Kashmir’s special constitutional status, which prevents outsiders from buying property there, arguing that such laws have hindered its 'integration' with the rest of India.

On Sunday, The Hindu reported that additional security troops had been placed in civilian installations and police stations and were put on “standby mode.”

The Indian government has admitted that 10,000 extra troops were sent to IoK a week ago. Media reports on Friday said a further 25,000 had been ordered there.

Kashmir politicians had long raised fears that the troops are sign that the Hindu nationalist government could carry out a threat to scrap occupied Kashmir's special status under the constitution.

Late on Sunday night, the Indian government imposed curfew-like restrictions in the restive region while India sent in tens of thousands of additional troops.

Communications were cut, with private mobile networks, internet services and telephone landlines cut, an AFP reporter said.

"There shall be no movement of public. All educational institutions shall also remain closed. There will be a complete bar on holding any kind of public meetings or rallies during the period of operation of this order. Identity cards of essential services officials will be treated as movement passes wherever required," read an Indian government order, but added: "there is no curfew in place".

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