Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 20
Contrary to canards doing the rounds, there has been complete normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of Article 370, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said today. He was responding to questions in the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour.
Shah said while landline phone services have been restored, a decision on restoring Internet services would be taken on the recommendation of the local administration. “Although Internet services are important, people’s security has also to be taken care of... While waging a war against terrorism, we have to fix our priorities,” he said. Taking a jibe at the Opposition benches, he said a moratorium on telephony and Internet services had been restored in Jammu and Kashmir earlier as well.
As Congress members questioned the facts presented by the minister, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu interceded, saying he would allot time for a discussion as soon as possible. “Not a single person has died in police firing after August 5. Restrictions have been lifted, schools, hospitals and others institutions are functioning normally. There is no curfew in areas falling under any of the 195 police stations in the Valley. Stone-pelting incidents have come down to 544 (so far this year) from 802 last year,” Shah said.
He cited 58.3 polling percentage in the recent BDC elections, opening of 20,114 schools, and 99.78 per cent students appearing for Class X and XII exams as other indicators of normalcy.
“Hospitals and other healthcare institutions are open and the number of people visiting OPDs has been more than seven lakh.The government has made arrangements to protect the interest of apple growers. NAFED has procured more than 6,000 tonnes of apples. All TV channels and media organisations are functioning as normal.”
As Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad (Cong) questioned the data read out by Shah, the latter declared he was ready for a discussion on Jammu and Kashmir separately. “It seems the Home Minister is reading out data of another state,” Azad mocked at the rosy claims. In response to another question, MoS for Home G Kishan Reddy said 5,161 arrests and detentions had been made as a preventive measure. Many detainees, including politicians and stone-throwers, had been released. He said an advisory board would be soon set up to review the cases of those still detained.
Internet services back by weekend
Srinagar: Encouraged by the return of near-normalcy, J&K is set to restore broadband Internet services in Kashmir. Two top government officials said broadband Internet connections would be restored by this weekend. “By Saturday, the Internet will be restored,” a senior official said, adding, “We will test the waters by restoring the broadband before taking a call on mobile Internet.” TNS
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