November 2019 News
More Rights To People After Ending Special Status: Jammu And Kashmir Administration21 November 2019
Times of India
Srinagar: Terming allegations that the rights of millions of people were violated by the post-August 5 restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir as an ill-informed and motivated campaign, the newly formed UT administration told the Supreme Court on Thursday while no right had been taken away from the people, scrapping of special status ensured several rights for the first time in 70 years. The Jammu and Kashmir administration, through solicitor general Tushar Mehta, answered pointed questions from a bench of Justices N V Ramana, R Subhash Reddy Reddy and B R Gavai to claim restoration of normalcy in the valley, saying all essential services like healthcare, schools and colleges, communication and public transport were running smoothly and most residents were happy with the newly conferred rights. 'Only a minuscule population finds the return of normalcy disturbing,' Mehta said. Ramana asked Mehta to answer the petitioners' charge that there was a complete shutdown in the valley. Mehta provided tabular form of information about how restrictions were imposed depending on law and order situation in each police district and explained these were relaxed as and when situation improved. He said all land-line telephones started working from September 4. Mehta said not a single person lost his life because of restrictions imposed since August 5, which were preventive in the nature to ward off serious threats from three groups - foreign terrorists, local militants and separatist groups. It is the government's duty to ensure safety of innocent people. Refuting charges, including those by senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, that life in JK was paralysed since August 5, the SG said a wrong impression had been deliberately created that there was a complete clampdown after the abrogation of special status. Elaborating on benefits accruing to people since, Mehta told the bench that residents were deprived of the benefits of many central welfare legislations, including protection of rights of women, children, weaker sections and senior citizens. After August 5, they are entitled to enjoy fruits of these schemes. 'Rights have not been taken away but more rights have been conferred to the people of JK for the first time in the last 70 years. There are around 106 people friendly legislations like Right to Education, Prevention of Domestic Violence, Reservation for SC-ST in jobs and local body election, Prevention of Child Marriage, etc which are now getting enforced. No one can possibly object conferment of additional rights to people in general, except a minuscule with vested interest,' Mehta said. He said as many as 41,866 persons including 14,038 civilians, 5,292 security personnel and 22,536 terrorists have been killed in 701,038 incidents of terrorist violence since 1990 but not a single person died in police firing after August 5. 'It has been petitioners' endeavour to pit the people of JK against the government. Situation is normal today and restriction under section 144 CrPC have been lifted from all 202 police stations. Each of the 20,411 schools and hospitals are open. People are getting treated. All land-line and post-paid mobile too have been restored ,' he said. The SG said return of normalcy could be best gauged from the fact that 99.48% out of 50,537 students of 11th standard examination appeared in Kashmir valley. The figure is 99.7% for 10th and 12th class examinations. Mehta pooh-poohed the claim that restrictions were imposed blindly across the state. He said action was taken by local authorities only after assessing the situation with inputs from local police, intelligence bureau and military intelligence. Accusing Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhashin, one of the petitioners, for deliberately not publishing her newspaper from the Valley to keep her plea alive in SC, Mehta said all other media operations including radio, TV channel and news papers are going on without any problem.