The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday elaborated to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Kashmir about the reasons behind imposing restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, including the communication clampdown there, and the facts leading to bifurcation of the region into two Union Territories (UTs).
Following the abrogation of Article 370 in early August, the erstwhile state has been bifurcated into two UTs -- Jammu and Kashmir with legislature, and Ladakh without one.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla informed the committee that the Centre took these measures to keep the situation contained in anticipation of violence in view of statements made by various leaders of the state.
Troublemakers have been rounded up and arrested till date, the Secretary said, adding that as many as 288 persons have been booked under the Public Safety Act, including former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah.
The ministry said that no loss in human life by violence has been reported in Jammu and Kashmir and no pellets have been fired in the last one month, barring the first ten days.
The Home Secretary cited the instance of the 2016 killing of militant Burhan Wani when Jammu and Kashmir was put under restrictions and a communication blockade was imposed, adding "many lives were lost as social media was used to spread misinformation that time".
The Home Secretary informed the committee about the precautionary steps taken by the security forces to maintain peace in the Valley.
Noting that the terrorists have been targeting vulnerable sections to instil a sense of fear in the region, Bhalla said that no "major terror incident was reported in Jammu and Kashmir".
The committee was informed that five apple traders were shot dead by the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of its special status to destabilise the revenue of the region which despatches around 20,000 tonnes of apples every year.
A total of 16,000 tonnes of apples have already been transported from August 5 till date, Bhalla said, adding that landlines are functioning in the region.
According to sources, around 25 lakh post-paid mobile telephone connections are functioning in the Valley.
"There are no restrictions anywhere in the Valley," said the source quoting Bhalla.
Train services have resumed, public transport is operational, hospitals are functioning and the airport has been operating normally throughout, Bhalla told the committee.
Life in Jammu and Kashmir is returning to normal, while examinations have been conducted in 670 examination centres peacefully, he added.
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