Back from Kashmir, NSA Ajit Doval briefs Amit Shah on ground situation

Home minister Amit Shah met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Monday to review the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, news agency PTI reported.

Doval had recently returned from J&K after the government decided to scrap Article 370 that gave special status to the state. During his 10-day stay, he travelled across the valley to reach out to people and get a sense of the pain points that can be addressed. The intelligence boss also held coordination meetings with top army and paramilitary commanders.

Restrictions were eased in Kashmir on Monday and schools were opened. PTI reported that teachers made it to the schools but not many students turned up. Private schools though remained shut for the 15th consecutive day.

J&K chief secretary BVR Subrahmanyam had said on Friday that schools will be opened after weekend as the government did not want the study of children to suffer. The government has asked its employees to report to duty and arranged for transport.

Top officials said that if the opening of primary schools was successful, it will be followed by middle and higher secondary schools. They have already made a list of schools to be opened.

Government spokesman and principal secretary (planning) Rohit Kansal said the government was planning to reopen over 190 primary schools in Srinagar. “We hope to restore full functionality to government offices…You have to give us an opportunity to start the schools. We promise we will do step by step and slowly but surely,” he had said.

PTI reported that markets in the Valley though remained shut on Monday while public transport remained off roads. The movement of private vehicles in the city increased after restrictions were eased.

On Saturday, the government restored services in 17 telephone exchanges in Kashmir and mobile internet in five districts on Jammu region.

There have no incidents of large-scale violence in the Valley but a number protests have rocked Srinagar, leaving at least seven people injured.

The government had imposed many restrictions and enforced a communication blackout by suspending mobile internet services hours before revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and splitting it into two union territories — J&K and Ladakh.

The matter had reached the Supreme Court with Congress activist Tehseen Poonawala’s challenging the Centre’s decision to impose restrictions. The top court refused to interfere and said it was too early for it to intervene and said it was against playing the role of a day-to-day administrator.


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