August 2019 News

40 Injured In J&K Stoning Incidents

13 August 2019
The Hindu
Vijaita Singh

New Delhi: More than 140 incidents of stone pelting have been reported in the Kashmir Valley in the past one week and 40 paramilitary personnel were injured, according to government data available with The Hindu. The Valley has been under lockdown since August 5 after Home Minister Amit Shah moved two Bills in the Rajya Sabha to annul Article 370 and downgrade and bifurcate the State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories. The most incidents of stone throwing (45) were reported on August 6, a day after the legislation was cleared by the Rajya Sabha. As many as 21 central armed police force personnel received injuries the same day. Senior Home Ministry and officials of the J&K police have asserted that barring localised incidents the law and order situation in the Valley has remained peaceful. On Tuesday, a senior government official said the ongoing restrictions in Kashmir Valley was a 'trade-off between inconvenience and loss of lives.' He said that when the entire northeast was redrawn in the past, there was violence but the situation is normal now. 'People have short memories,' he said. All communication lines including Internet and landline phones continue to be suspended. 'These decisions are not simple, they are taken at local and district levels. The situation varies from place to place, the assessment is done by the State administration, they will decide,' said the official, when asked when the restrictions would be eased in the Valley. 'Some people are trying to instigate and provoke. We have to choose between allowing free run to such elements or leave it to the judgment of the local administration,' he said. He said this was not the first time such restrictions had been imposed in the Valley and when the Hurriyat called a strike, it remained shut for months. 'Post-2016 violence (after Hizbul commander Burhan Wani was killed), restrictions continued for months together. This time we have taken preventive measures. The entire objective is to minimise violence and prevent loss of lives,' the official said. The Home Ministry confirmed on Tuesday that 'miscreants mingled with people returning home after prayers at a local mosque' in Soura on August 9 and 'they resorted to unprovoked stone pelting against law enforcement forces to cause widespread unrest.' Earlier when BBC and Reuters had carried reports and posted videos of the protests, the claim was contested by the government. The Home Ministry spokesperson said on Twitter on Tuesday, 'law enforcement authorities showed restraint and tried to maintain law & order situation. It is reiterated that no bullets have been fired in *JammuAndKashmir since the development related to *Article370.'