India’s Home Minister Amit Shah has claimed that everything is normal in Kashmir more than four months after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.
“Situation in Kashmir valley is completely normal. I can’t make Congress' condition normal, because they had predicted bloodshed after abrogation of Article 370 and nothing of that sort has happened, not even a bullet was fired", Shah told Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of the main opposition Indian National Congress. Congress had predicted that the move to strip the state of its special status would result in violence.
Justifying his claim of normalcy in the Valley, Shah said “About 99.5 percent students appeared for their exams, but for Adhir Ranjan ji this is not normal. About 700,000 people availed OPD (Out Patient) services in Srinagar, curfew and Section 144 have been removed from everywhere. But for Adhir ji only parameter for normality is political activity. What about local body polls which were held?”
Urban body elections were held in Jammu and Kashmir in October amid the shutdown. While opposition, including Congress boycotted the polls, BJP claimed victory in the elections.
Over 500 key political leaders and activists, including former chief ministers Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been detained since August.
“We don't want to keep them even a day extra in jail, when administration thinks it is right time, political leaders will be released" Shah told lawmakers about the release of political leaders from preventive detention.
Reports indicate that everyday routines, from schools, tourism to businesses have been done in the absence of internet connectivity. Internet service is partly available to a select group of people, upon request. However, the minister did not make any comment on the communications clampdown in his explanation.