Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy on Wednesday said the Centre had imposed certain restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir because of Pakistan’s intentions to disturb law and order, reported PTI. He added that Islamabad would like to see peace disturbed in the region so that the Centre’s decisions seem wrong.
“We took some decisions such as imposing restrictions as a precautionary measure, keeping in view Pakistan’s attempts to provoke and conspire to somehow disturb law and order in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said. “Certainly not to inconvenience people. Pakistan is hatching many conspiracies to prove before the world what the government of India has done is wrong.”
India ended Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 and also imposed a security lockdown and a communications blackout in the state. Several political leaders – including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, Peoples Conference leader Sajad Lone, Jammu Kashmir Peoples Movement leader Shah Faesal, and state Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir – are under detention.
Reddy said such restrictions were not new to Jammu and Kashmir. “In the past, there were many instances of imposition of curfew, enforcement of prohibitory orders, closure of schools for months and arrest of chief ministers,” he said. “Compared to the past, no such decisions have been taken now.”
He urged Opposition leaders to have patience. “There is a lot of time,” said the minister of state. “You can go to Jammu and Kashmir... Hold peace for some days. Let’s see Pakistan’s problem now. After that, Rahul Gandhi can hold any number of meetings. Who is saying no? Have patience.”
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad was twice stopped from entering Jammu and Kashmir, and was sent back to New Delhi. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had also expressed his willingness to visit the state.
Meanwhile, 774 of around 3,000 middle schools in the Kashmir Valley reopened on Wednesday for the first time since August 5, PTI reported. Primary schools in the Valley had reopened on Monday, but saw low attendance.
Information and Public Relations Director Syed Sehrish Asgar said that 60-80% teachers were present. She added that in North Kashmir, the student attendance was as low as 2-3%, while in South Kashmir, it was around 50%.
Asgar said the offices of deputy commissioners in Kashmir saw 80-90% attendance. She added that hospitals and banks were functioning normally.
Some incidents of stone pelting were reported from parts of the Valley on Wednesday, but these were dealt with using the local police force, Asgar said.
The state administration has been easing restrictions in the Kashmir Valley in a phased manner. Landlines are now operational and a fraction of primary schools have reopened.
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