Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday defended the continuing security clampdown in parts of the state, and said the government’s priority was to ensure no loss of lives, ANI reported.

“There is no shortage of anything [essential commodities and medicines] in Kashmir,” Malik told reporters in response to a question. “In fact we delivered meat, vegetables and eggs to people’s homes on Eid [August 12], and there was no problem. Your opinion will change in 10 to 15 days.”

When asked about the detentions of political leaders in the state, Malik said: “In all the crises that have happened in Kashmir in the past, at least 50 people used to die in the first week itself. Our attitude is such that there should be no loss of human lives. Dus din telephone nahi honge, nahi honge [If that means there is no telephone service for 10 days, it’s okay], but we will restore everything very soon.”

The state was put under an unprecedented lockdown ever since the central government decided to revoke its special status on August 5. Thousands of troops have been deployed to prevent law and order situations in the region and communication lines have been cut off in most parts. The authorities have claimed that the restrictions would be eased gradually, however protests in the Valley have made it difficult to do so.

On Saturday, the administration said the day-time restrictions had been lifted from 69 police station areas in the Kashmir Valley and 81 police station areas in the Jammu region. Traffic movement increased on Saturday and attendance in offices was better, the government said.

However, public transport stayed off roads and markets were closed for the 20th straight day.

Meanwhile, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told PTI that a team of the Minority Affairs Ministry will visit the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday to identify the areas to implement centrally-sponsored development projects now that the state has lost its special status. “The team will explore development possibilities – where schools, colleges, skill development centres can be opened,” Naqvi said.

Priyanka Gandhi asks, ‘How long will this continue?’

A day after an Opposition delegation was sent back from the Srinagar airport, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra shared a video on Twitter of an upset woman speaking to Rahul Gandhi about her problems because of the shutdown on the flight back. Rahul Gandhi of the Congress had led a 12-member delegation to the state on Saturday, but they were not allowed to exit the airport.

“How long is this going to continue?” Priyanka Gandhi said. “This is one out of millions of people who are being silenced and crushed in the name of ‘Nationalism’. For those who accuse the opposition of ‘politicising’ this issue: There is nothing more ‘political’ and ‘anti-national’ than the shutting down of all democratic rights that is taking place in Kashmir.”

She added that it was the duty of “every one of us to raise our voices against it” and the Congress would not stop doing so.

The government said the delegation was sent back to avoid inconvenience to residents and to ensure “no violations of the restrictions were committed”.

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