By Sumit Saxena
New Delhi, Sep 16 : Jammu and Kashmir is gradually moving to a stage when no restrictions may be necessary, the government on Monday told the Supreme Court, adding that not a single bullet has been fired and not a single life lost so far after the abrogation of Article 370 that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
The Centre’s reply came after the apex court asked both the Centre as well as the Jammu and Kashmir government to restore normalcy in the erstwhile state as soon as possible. Attorney General K.K. Venugopal along with Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the court that best possible steps have been taken in the national interest for preventing any loss of life or property, which would otherwise have been inevitable, if the restrictions which have been placed had not been implemented.
“Every move should be made keeping in mind national interest,” said the top court.
District Magistrates have issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC as per necessity. In addition to this, temporary blocking of various communication channels like internet and mobile services has been resorted to in order to minimise law and order violations.
“It is to the credit of the government that these measures have succeeded in full, as not a single bullet has been fired till date and there has not been any loss of life on account of any police firing,” said Mehta before the court. According to an internal note, in the last few weeks the restrictions have been gradually eased in a phased manner to ensure a smooth return to normalcy for the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Centre’s counsel emphasised that the restrictions are only temporary in character, as the fact-sheet mentioned before the court show that step by step and stage by stage there has been a relaxation in the restrictions.
“Dish TV Channels, Doordarshan and local channels like JK Channel, Gulistan are being broadcasted. Radio Kashmir and FM channels are being broadcasted. Supply of drinking water and electricity has been ensured since the beginning and round-the-clock maintenance services are being provided,” said the internal note.
Primary, middle and high schools are functioning normally across Jammu and Ladakh division (100 per cent) while in Kashmir division 97 per cent of all schools is functioning.
“Special Market Intervention Price Scheme of government of India has been introduced to procure apples this season from the apple growers of all apple growing districts. Cash availability has been ensured by keeping open all ATMs of J&K Bank and of other banks,” said source in the legal team of the Centre.
(Sumit Saxena can be contacted at email@example.com)