Kashmir issue: SC refuses to pass order on restoring communication services in J&K

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Kashmir issue: SC refuses to pass order on restoring communication services in J&K

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to pass order on the clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir, including restoring communication services in the Valley. These restrictions were imposed after the abrogation of Article 370. While hearing a petition filed by activist Tehseen Poonawala, the apex court declined to give immediate directions on the plea for lifting several restrictions in the state, saying that nothing could be done overnight and that it would wait for the return of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The present situation in Jammu and Kashmir is very sensitive and it should be ensured that there is no loss of life there," the Supreme Court said in its observation.

A three-judge bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justices MR Shah and Ajay Rastogi asked the Centre to ensure normalcy in the state and said that they would take up the matter again in two weeks.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, who appeared for the Centre, told the Court that the government had to ensure that the law and order situation in J&K was maintained. He said that restrictions were imposed keeping in mind the agitations in Kashmir back in July 2016 after the encounter of terrorist Burhan Wani. Restrictions would ease in a few days, depending on the ground situation, he said.

Venugopal added the government was reviewing the situation in Kashmir on a day-to-day basis. In his petition, Poonawala had challenged the detention of former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti and Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference leader Sajjad Lone who were arrested on August 5. He also sought the withdrawal of curfew, blocking of phone lines, internet, news channels and other restrictions from J&K.

Meanwhile, the security situation in the Valley remains tense, with curfew in place in several areas. Several people who were detained before the revocation of Article 370 are still in preventive custody. On August 5, the Modi government had announced the removal of some provisions of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposed bifurcation of the state into two Union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Edited by Chitranjan Kumar

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