NEW DELHI: Aug 16
Schools and government offices in Kashmir will re-open on Monday after the local administration reviews the ground situation, sources in the Jammu and Kashmir administration told. The restrictions in Kashmir will be removed over the next few days, the government told the Supreme Court today in response to a petition that sought an immediate lifting of the restrictions on the media amid a lockdown that has been in place there for more than 10 days.
“The ground situation is being reviewed daily and the Supreme Court must trust the security agencies,” the government told the top court, adding the situation is improving gradually. Kashmir Times executive editor Anuradha Bhasin has sought directions for the immediate restoration of communication lines so that the media can function freely in the region.
She also pushed for the centre to relax all restrictions on the movement of mediapersons in Kashmir and some districts of Jammu. “I have read in the media report that restrictions on landline and broadline are likely to be removed by the evening today,” Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said.
The government’s lawyer KK Venugopal said the newspaper is being published from Jammu where the curbs have been lifted and not from Srinagar. The Supreme Court said it will take up the matter on media restrictions along with other related matters, without fixing a date for the next hearing.
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and prohibitory orders banning large gatherings since August 4 – a day before the government announced that it has withdrawn special status for the state and will bifurcate it into two union territories.
While the police said on Wednesday that the curbs in Jammu were completely removed, it said the restrictions in Kashmir will continue in Kashmir “for sometime”. As part of a complete communications blackout, phone services and internet connections remain suspended in the Kashmir Valley and curfew-like restrictions are in place. No decision has been made on re-opening the phone, sources told .
The newspaper’s editor claimed that she has not been able to publish the local edition of Kashmir Times because of the overarching restrictions on communication services as well as the blockade on media activities. The Home Ministry had said that the restrictions in Kashmir will be removed in a phased manner.
Almost 400 political leaders of the Kashmir Valley are under detention. top mainstream political leaders remain under arrest. Two former Chief Ministers – Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah – are among those who have been arrested. More than 50,000 security personnel are on streets.