The government on Tuesday justified strict restrictions on movement in Jammu and Kashmir, saying as a trade-off between restrictions and loss and life, the government chose restrictions. A ministry spokesperson added that the restrictions were being removed in a phased manner.
“The restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir are being eased out in a phased manner in the Valley and the situation in the Jammu division has been restored after assessment by relevant local authorities,” a senior bureaucrat in Ministry of Home Affairs told NDTV. The state administration is allowing relaxations where the ground situation is improving.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under an unprecedented security cover and prohibitory orders banning large gatherings since August 4 - a day before the government announced that it has withdrawn special status for the state and will bifurcate it into two union territories.
Almost 400 political leaders of valley including two former chief ministers - Omar and Mehbooba are under detention. More than 50,000 security personnel are on streets and phone service and internet are still off.
“We did not want any loss of life and that’s why the restrictions were imposed,” a senior home ministry official told NDTV. “Safety and security of the people should take precedence over everything else,” added another bureaucrat.
Restrictions have been imposed on a number of occasions earlier – even during auspicious occasions such as Eid for apprehensions about breach of peace.
“In 2016, we saw so many killings and only after that restrictions were put in place but this time we took a pre-emptive call,” he said, pointing to the huge protests that took place in Kashmir Valley after the killing of terrorist Burhan Wani. Besides, there have been hartal calls from separatists that lasted upto six months.
This time, a bureaucrat said, the steps were taken by the state administration “after taking all aspects into consideration” for handling an unprecedented situation.
The Supreme Court, which heard a petition against the lockdown on Tuesday, said the situation is “sensitive”. The government, it said, must get more time to resolve it and “one must rely on the government”.