The centre has scrapped Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
The situation in Jammu and Kashmir is “sensitive” and one must rely on the government, the Supreme Court said today in response to a petition that sought an immediate lifting of the lockdown that has been in place there for more than a week and the release of political leaders currently under arrest. “We expect normalcy. But nothing can be done overnight. Nobody knows what’s happening. One has to rely on the government… It is a sensitive issue,” the court said, adjourning the case for two weeks.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under an unprecedented security cover and prohibitory orders that ban large gatherings since August 4 – the eve of the government’s announcement of the withdrawal of the special status for the state and its bifurcation into two Union Territories.
Internet and phone connectivity have also been withdrawn, pointing to which the petitioner said even the soldiers have been unable to connect with their families.
In response to the court’s queries no whether the situation on the ground is being reviewed, the Centre said it was reviewing the situation daily. “We expect it will be settled soon,” Attorney General KK Venugopal, the government’s highest law officer, told the court.
The Attorney General pointed out that the lockdown has been the way to maintain law and order with the “least inconvenience”.
“In July 2016, we had a similar situation when three terrorists (including Burhan Wani) were killed. People came to the roads. At that time, internet was cut… More than 40 people died. Now, now not a single person is dead,” he added.
“We should have a real picture. Time has to be given. Let us wait for normalcy. If the situation continues, the petitioner can come to court,” said a three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra.
Yesterday, the government said Eid-al-Adha had passed peacefully in Jammu and Kashmir, barring a few sporadic incidents. But the mood was subdued as the streets of Srinagar remained deserted under the watchful eyes of the security personnel. The restriction measures, which had been lifted for a day, were back on Sunday morning.
In a statement last evening, the government said restrictions have been completely lifted or limited to the night in five districts of Jammu. “Similar local relaxation was done in the nine other districts of Kashmir based on local assessment of the situation,” the statement read.
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