In a sensational turn of events, the Supreme Court responded to a petition by a social activist Tehseen Poonawala who sought an urgent lift of Section 144 in the Jammu and Kashmir valley and release of their leaders who were placed under house arrest, saying that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is “sensitive” and one must rely on the government. The petitioner also said that the complete lockdown violates right to life and freedom. The higher court also explained that to put things back into normalcy, the government should be given sufficient time as change doesn’t take place overnight.
A few days back the Modi-led BJP government abolished the Article 370 withdrawing special status to Jammu and Kashmir. About 50,000 security personnel landed to provide safety and avoid any untoward incident to occur. A ban was imposed on large congregations in the valley during the religious festival of Bakrid.
Internet and phone connectivity have also been withdrawn, pointing to which the petitioner said even the soldiers have been unable to connect with their families.
In response to the court’s queries no whether the situation on the ground is being reviewed, the Centre said it was reviewing the situation daily. “We expect it will be settled soon,” Attorney General KK Venugopal, the government’s highest law officer, told the court.
The Attorney General pointed out that the as the situation was very sensitive, a lockdown is imposed as a safety measure to maintain law and order.
“In July 2016, we had a similar situation when three terrorists (including Burhan Wani) were killed. People came to the roads. At that time, internet was cut… More than 40 people died. Now, now not a single person is dead,” he added.
“We should have a real picture. Time has to be given. Let us wait for normalcy. If the situation continues, the petitioner can come to court,” said a three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra.
In many parts of Jammu, there have been no restrictions except during the nights. In a statement issued by government, a few parts of Kashmir too the restrictions have been eased out.