‘Total normalcy’ in J&K, says Amit Shah

The Asian Age.

India, Politics

Shah challenged Azad to prove that the facts being presented in the House on J&K are incorrect.

Union home minister Amit Shah (Photo: File)

New Delhi: Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday asserted in Rajya Sabha that “total normalcy” prevails in Jammu and Kashmir and added that not a single person has died in police firing since August 5 when the Centre abrogated special status of the state although many feared there would be bloodshed and more killings.

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 are prevalent only in certain areas from 8 pm to 6 am in the Valley, Mr Shah told the Rajya Sabha while responding to a series of questions on the situation in Jammu & Kashmir during Question Hour.

“The situation there was always normal. There were many notions spread all over the world. There is total normalcy prevailing. After August 5, not a single person has died in police firing although many feared there would be bloodshed and more number of killings,” he said.

All restrictions imposed in Kashmir have been successful. Stone pelting incidents have come down to 544 so far in 2019 from 802 incidents in 2018, he said.

Replying to a question by Leader of Opposition in the Upper House, Ghulam Nabi Azad, on when Internet Services will be restored, the home minister said the local administration will take a call on it, Ms Shah said,

 “Internet in Kashmir will be restored as soon as local administration feels it is fit to do so.”

Restrictions on public movement and communications were enforced in Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 as the government divested the state of its special status and bifurcated it into two Union territories — J&K and Ladakh.

Several top political leaders of the Valley, including National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, and Peoples Democratic Party’s Mehbooba Mufti, have been kept under detention.

Citing figures, Mr Shah further said, “About 99.7 per cent of students have given Class 9 and 10 exams. Hospitals are also functioning and the number of people visiting the Out Patient Department (OPD) has increased in Srinagar. Medicines are being made available in the valley and there is no shortage. Mobile vans and vending machines were also made available… If any one has information that a particular person in a remote area is not getting medical facility, they can contact me directly. I will get it done in 24 hours.”

On the concerns of apple growers in the Valley after the targeted killings of transporters by terrorists, Mr Shah said, “Over 22 lakh metric tonnes apples have already been transferred out of the region. Transportation is smooth. The farmers have been provided additional help. 93,247 landlines have opened up. All 59 lakh mobiles are working.”

He also added that all newspapers and TV channels are functional and there is no decline in circulation.

As the home minister gave out figures supporting normalcy in the Valley, Mr Azad said, “It looks like the home minister is referring to the report of some other state.”

Hitting back, Mr Shah challenged Mr Azad to prove that the facts being presented in the House on J&K are incorrect.

The Opposition leaders have demanded that there be a full-fledged debate on Kashmir in the current session.