Kashmir normal, J&K admin to decide on internet curbs: Shah

SAHIL RASGOTRA. Updated: 12/1/2019 12:26:51 PM Front Page

MHA likely to hold meeting on Valley situation next week

JAMMU: Asserting that situation in Kashmir was normal, union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday asked the industry community to visit the Valley with their families and assess the real situation there.
Shah also reiterated that the local administration will decide on the restoration of internet in the newly-formed union territory, amid reports of him reviewing the situation in a top-level meeting next week on various issue in J&K, even as some important decision can also be taken by the MHA.
Speaking at the Economic Times award function in Mumbai, Shah asked the industrialists present there to visit the Valley with family and assess the real situation there.
"As home minister of the country, I am urging you to please visit Kashmir. Situation is normal there, you will see," Shah said he added.
“Without taking a visit, you cannot find the truth. Kashmir has been painted falsely in past. When I was debating in the parliament (on revocation of Article 370 on August 5), I was told that there will be blood bath in Kashmir and that situation will go out of hand,” Shah said.
“It has been four month and not a single person was killed in police firing. Nothing happened. As we speak, all of the 195 police station areas of the Valley are free of any sort of restrictions—no curfew, no (imposition of) section 144, not even in night.
“Recently we held examinations for class 10th and 12th there and you would be surprised to know that a total of 99.7% students appeared in the examination and there was no untoward incident,” Shah detailed.
As far as the timeline for removing restriction on internet, the minister said that as this is a law and order issue, the local administration would take decision in this regard.
“The people on the ground there will take a decision on the restoration of internet in Kashmir. Whenever they feel right, they will restore in office,” he said.
Upon asked on the detention of political leaders in Valley, Shah said that only 630 people are in jail and out of that, less than 112 are political prisoners.
Shah’s comments came amid the reports that the Ministry of Home Affairs is likely to hold a top meeting next week over the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Credible sources said Shah himself will preside over the meeting in which National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and heads of various security agencies are also likely to participate.
“Amit Shah will review the current scenario in Kashmir,” sources said, adding that meeting will also discuss the suspension of internet services in Kashmir.
“It will be decided in the meeting whether to restore broadband internet services in Kashmir,” sources said. The meeting will also decide over the releasing of political leaders.
Over 30 leaders of National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, Peoples Conference and Jammu Kashmir Peoples Movement are under detention including three former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
Sources said Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh will apprise the meeting about the security scenario in new union territory.
“Union Home Minister has sought detailed report of anti-militancy operations in the valley,” sources said.
Internet services are suspended in Kashmir since August 5 when Centre abrogated the Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two union territories.
Sources said officials will also apprise Amit Shah about the losses suffered due to November 7 snowfall.
“Jammu and Kashmir government wants that November 7 be declared natural calamity,” sources said.
At least nine people lost their lives by heavy snowfall which caused heavy damage to public and private property across Jammu and Kashmir.

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