Jammu and Kashmir restrictions: The Government on Friday told the Supreme Court that the restrictions put in place in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the scrapping of Article 370 will be removed in a phased manner over the next few days. The Government’s response came as the apex court heard a batch of petitions seeking immediate lifting of restrictions in the Valley and ending the communication blackout.
“Trust your security agencies. We are reviewing the situation every day. We are working with the best interest in mind,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, told the Supreme Court.
The special Supreme Court bench, comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer, adjourned the matter for next week, however, it also reprimander one of the petitioners to filing a ‘defective’ appeal.
“What kind of a petition is this? Your petition isn’t even maintainable. We could have dismissed it but this would affect other petitions as well. All other 5 petitions are defective too.. They haven’t removed defects either. I couldn’t even understand what tour petition is about,” CJI Gogoi said referring to advocate ML Sharma’s plea.
While Sharma has challenged the decision to remove Article 370 and creation of two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Kashmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin has appealed that court to direct the concerned authorities to lift all restrictions on mods of communication, including mobile internet and landline services.
In her petition, Bhasin said that since August 4, all connectivity was shutdown leaving Kashmir and some districts in Jammu completely isolated and cut-off from all possible modes of communication and information.
“I have read it in the media reports that restrictions on landline and broadband are likely to be removed by the evening today. So we will take it up after that,” the CJI said during the hearing.
Omar Abdullah’s National Conference has also approached the Supreme Court challenging the decision to make Jammu and Kashmir a Union Territory. The party said the changes have taken away the rights of local citizens without their mandate.
Jammu and Kashmir has been placed under heavy restrictions since the first week of this month after the Modi government removed Article 370 from the region and bifurcated it into two Union Territories. After the Rajya Sabha passed the bill in this regard on August 5, the Lok Sabha too approved the resolution removing the legislature which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
While curfew has been lifted from almost all areas of Jammu region, restrictions Srinagar and other parts of the Valley are still imposed considering the security situation. On the other hand, life has returned to normal in Ladakh.