Hospitals beyond capacity, locals being bullied: Shah Faesal's grim Kashmir ground updates

"It was not possible to reach Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti or Sajad Lone"

jammu-kashmir-pti Paramilitary personnel stand guard during restrictions, in Jammu, Wednesday | PTI

Former bureaucrat Shah Faesal , through his Facebook page, updated the rest of the country on the situation prevailing in the Kashmir valley amid a complete communications blackout. The official version was that, barring stray incidents of stone-pelting, the situation was "comfortable" in all the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir. Some shops had opened in Srinagar and the movement of people on the roads had picked up despite the restrictions.

On January 9, 35-year-old Faesal quit the Indian Administrative Service, barely ten years after he became the first Kashmiri to top the civil services examination. “I have decided to resign from IAS. Kashmiri lives matter,” he tweeted.

He said the reasons behind his decision were “the unabated killings in Kashmir, and the lack of any sincere reach-out from the Union government”, along with “the marginalisation of around 200 million Indian Muslims at the hands of hindutva forces” and “the growing culture of intolerance and hate in mainland India in the name of hyper-nationalism”.

Faesal drew a grim picture of the valley in his latest Facebook post. The full version of his post is reproduced as below [lightly edited]: Kashmir is experiencing an unprecedented lock down. From Zero Bridge to airport, some movement of vehicles is visible. Other places are completely out of bounds. Except for patients or those with a curfew pass.

It was not possible to reach Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Sajad Lone, or send a message to them.

In other districts, curfew is all the more strict. You can say that the entire eight million population has been incarcerated like never before.

As of now there is no shortage of food and essentials. My sources in administration told me that Sat Phones given to officers are being used to coordinate the civil supplies. No other means of communication is available.

Those with Dish TV have access to news. Cable services are down. Many people still have a bleak idea of what happened. Radio was working till a few hours ago. Most people are watching DD.

National media is also not being allowed to move into interior areas

LD hospital is functioning beyond its capacity as expecting women are getting admitted days in advance to avoid any last moment hassels. Some people are planning to run langars there.

No violent incident has been officially reported so far. Random incidents of stone throwing were reported from Rambagh, Natipora, Downtown, Kulgam, Anantnag. But no news of any killings.

People are in shock. Numb. Yet to make sense of what befell them. Everyone is mourning what we lost.

In my conversations with people besides 370, it's the loss of statehood that has hurt people deeply. This is being seen as the biggest betrayal by the Indian state in last 70 years.

Few leaders who have escaped detention called for calm through TV channels. It is being said that the government is ready for a casualty figure of 8 - 10 thousand. So sanity demands that we don't give anyone a chance for mass massacre.

My appeal has also been that let's stay alive, then we shall fight back.

The body language of forces personnel manning the nakas is extremely harsh. JKP is totally sidelined. 

One guy told an acquaintance of mine that now we are going to show your place to you.

Such stories of locals being bullied have reached me from many places. But its extremely heartening that Kashmiris are staying calm.

Those who wish to travel to Kashmir should avoid doing it for some time.

Even if the curfew is relaxed the situation will remain extremely volatile. At airport I met crowds of heartbroken youth asking me questions about what should we do now. 

I said we shall go to Supreme Court together and ask for reversing this injustice. 

All political parties are together on challenging these unconstitutional laws that have deprived us of our history and identity.

As of now that's the only hope. International community has shut its eyes. So I am not expecting anything from there. 

The sad fact of life is that only Narendra Modi and Amit Shah can one day give back to us the wealth that has been stolen from us in broad day light.

But then what's lost has been lost. Or Perhaps everything has been lost. Except our resolve to fight back. And we shall.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, who were under house arrest since Sunday night, were placed under arrest on Monday night as they were considered a threat to the law-and-order situation in the state, officials said.

Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference leaders Sajjad Lone and Imran Ansari were also arrested, they added.

The arrested leaders were lodged at Hari Niwas, metres away from their Gupkar residences, the officials said.

The orders of their arrest were issued by the magistrates concerned in view of their activities to disturb peace and tranquillity in the Kashmir valley, they added.

The arrests came hours after the Centre announced abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and proposed bifurcation of the state into two Union territories—Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.