New Delhi: Defending the move to impose restrictions on a vital national highway connecting Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country, the Home Ministry said Wednesday that the step has been taken to ensure safe movement of forces and it will be continued only till May 31.
In a statement, the ministry said a “deliberate and mischievous disinformation” being spread about the recently imposed traffic restrictions on the national highway connecting Jammu with the Kashmir Valley.
“The state government of Jammu and Kashmir has already clarified in unambiguous terms, that out of seven days in a week, only reasonable restrictions have been imposed, that too for 12 hours, two days in a week. This has been done to ensure safe movement of forces and at the same time minimising the inconvenience to public,” it stated.
The total duration of prohibition is for 24 hours out of 168 hours in a week, which amounts to only 15 per cent of the time, it added.
“While regulations for movement of civilian traffic were already in place during convoy movement, the state government has now come out with a planned movement of security forces on the national highway for a short duration — up to May 31, 2019,” the statement read.
The regulations have been imposed just for a total of 15 days keeping in view the convoy efficiency and security of the personnel, “particularly in the backdrop of Pulwama attack on February 14, 2019 and a similar unsuccessful attempt on March 31, 2019”, it stated.
The ministry said an impression is being created by some individuals that the national highway has been closed for civilians which is “farthest from the truth”.
During this period of 12 hours, alternative routes like old national highway and other internal roads are available for commutation of civilians without any hassles.
The ministry said restrictions were in place in Jammu and Kashmir earlier also and are imposed from time to time in other parts of the country, for movement of the convoys of security forces.
The restrictions have been re-imposed, after taking into account the requirements of students, patients, etc. and also ensuring minimum public hindrance, it said.
A robust mechanism to facilitate the public by the administration for exceptions and emergencies has also been ensured. Further, a mechanism has also been put in place to review these restrictions from time to time.
“Certain vested interests are raking up this issue with utter disregard to the precious lives of security personnel that could be lost in Pulwama-like attacks and are sensationalising the issue without any consideration for the national security,” the statement read.
“These planned restrictions, which came into force from April 3, have by and large stabilised and are being properly implemented by the state government without any inconvenience to the public at large,” it added.
Day 39: Normal life still out of gear in Kashmir; schools remain shut, public transport off roads
Srinagar: Normal life remained affected in Kashmir as the stalemate following the abrogation of Article 370 entered its 39th day on Thursday with schools closed and public transport off the roads, officials said.
Restrictions on the movement or assembly of people have been lifted from most areas of the valley, but security forces continued to be deployed to maintain law and order, the officials said.
They said the authorities were also considering easing out restrictions on mobile communications and restoring voice call services.
While landlines across the valley were functional, voice calls on mobile devices were working only in Kupwara and Handwara police districts of north Kashmir.
However, normal life remained severely affected across the valley due to shutdown which entered 39th day on Thursday, the officials said.
Markets and other business establishments remained closed, while public transport was off the roads across the valley, they added.
Internet services remained suspended across all platforms, the officials said.
The efforts of the state government to open schools have not borne any fruit as parents continued to keep children at home due to apprehensions about their safety.
Most of the top-level and second-rung separatist politicians have been taken into custody while mainstream leaders including three former chief ministers — Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — have also been either detained or placed under house arrest.
NC leader Akbar Lone ‘appreciates’ Pakistan’s role in raking up Kashmir issue
SRINAGAR: National Conference leader and MP Akbar Lone has “appreciated” the role of Pakistan in raking up the Kashmir issue internationally and “putting pressure” on India, even as he said that his party must contest elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Lone told IANS in an interview that contesting elections has been compulsion in the past though “Kashmiris don’t belong to India”.
“We will have to first understand what powers the new Assembly will have in the event of any elections taking place. As a man from National Conference, whatever the elections, we must contest elections,” he said.
Batting for a united stand by political parties against the abrogation of Article 370, Lone said that all parties must stand together for the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
“All parties like the Congress, National Conference, PDP and other small and big groups must join hands to carry out agitation against India for the return of the special status of the state,” Lone added.
Lone said the clampdown in Kashmir is stopping people from showing their resentment against the scrapping of the special status.
“It is military rule in Kashmir. Every nook and corner of the state is guarded by the Army, by paramilitary forces, people are not allowed to come out, if they would have been allowed to come out, they would have showed their resentment,” Lone said.
He said that he “appreciated” the role of Pakistan and other countries in raking the Kashmir issue internationally and “putting pressure” on India.
“It is a good thing that Pakistan or China or US any other country rakes up the Kashmir issue internationally and supports the cause, they have exposed India, otherwise India would have taken the move as a success without caring about who is who,” he said.
Lone demanded the release of former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah and said the party leadership must be allowed to meet these senior leaders to decide the future course of action.
“We must be allowed to see our leaders and they must be released, we will sit down along with other parties to chalk out a joint course of action,” Lone said.
Kashmir integral part of India, says Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind
Top Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JuH) on Thursday came out in support of the Centre’s decision of abrogating provisions of Article 370, saying Kashmir is an “integral part” of the country and the welfare of people in the Valley lies in their integration with India.
In the resolution passed in its annual general meeting held in New Delhi, JuH rallied for a united India.
“It is our belief that the welfare of the people of Kashmir lies in getting integrated with India. The inimical forces and the neighbouring country are bent upon destroying Kashmir. The oppressed and beleaguered people of Kashmir are stuck between opposing forces,” it said, without mentioning Article 370.
“JuH stands steadfastly for the unity and integrity of the country and has accorded it paramount importance. As such it can never support any separatist movement, rather it considers such movements not only harmful for India but also for the people of Kashmir,” it said.
It also said that the current situation in Kashmir demands that peaceful initiatives be launched to maintain peace and security in the region, especially in the view of the repercussions of clash of “atomic powers”.
The Muslim body also appealed to the government of India to protect the people of Kashmir and their property while respecting human rights.
“It must use every possible constitutional means for bringing back normalcy in the region and winning the hearts of the people of Kashmir,” it said.