This is the first delegation from Jammu and Kashmir to meet the Home Minister Amit Shah after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday assured a delegation of village heads and panchayat members (Panch and Sarpanch) from Jammu and Kashmir that the mobile phone services will be restored in Jammu and Kashmir in the next 15-20 days. Shah also announced police security cover and insurance cover of Rs 2 lakh each to them. Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir were held last year after a gap of six years.
The delegation discussed the scrapping of Article 370 and panchayat empowerment in Jammu and Kashmir. The delegation members thanked the Home Minister for abrogating Article 370 and said it was a long pending demand of Jammu, news agency ANI quoted a delegation member as saying.
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This is the first delegation from Jammu and Kashmir to meet the Home Minister after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution. Amid several preventive measures, mobile and internet services, including BSNL’s fixed-line and private leased-line internet, were snapped on August 5 after the Centre abrogated provisions of Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two Union territories — J&K and Ladakh.
The administration has eased some restrictions after reviewing the situation in J&K. The landline telephones have been restored in 76 of 95 telephone exchanges. However, services continued to be suspended in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk and Press Enclave in Srinagar as well in a few other areas of the Valley. Mobile services and internet remained snapped across the Valley, except in the Kupwara and Handwara police station areas.
Justifying the communication clampdown in J&K, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that it was not possible to stop communications between militants without an impact on all of Kashmir. “How do I cut off communication between the terrorists and their masters on the one hand, but keep the internet open for other people? I would be delighted to know,” he wondered.
Earlier, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik backed the communication gag in the Valley and said the move was helping save lives. “Jammu and Kashmir has not witnessed a single killing in 10 days. If no communication helps saves lives, what is the harm?” Malik had said.