Ensure normalcy is restored in J&K: SC directs Centre
Jammu and Kashmir, which has been under an unprecedented security cover since August 5, might soon get a sigh of relief, thanks to an order of the Supreme Court. The apex court on Monday directed the Centre, led by Bharatiya Janata Party, to ensure normalcy is restored in J&K while adding that national security should be kept in mind. Here are more details.
Backstory: Before revoking Article 370, Centre put J&K under lockdown
Before it decided to abrogate provisions of Article 370, effectively withdrawing the special status of J&K, Centre deployed heavy troops and snapped communication modes. It also detained mainstream politicians. This move garnered criticism from many and was also discussed on the global stage. The Centre, however, maintained that restrictions are being lifted gradually and the blackout kept a check on terrorism, sponsored by Pakistan.
Defending government, Venugopal reminded of past incidents
Representing the Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal said things have been largely calm in the Valley. He cited the number of deaths in the Valley since 1991 and said "terrible situation" prevailed there. Referring to the death of Hizbul Mujahideen's Burhan Wani and the crisis that followed, Venugopal said, "In 2016, when a terrorist was killed, the whole state went into a turmoil."
Keep national interest in mind, three-judge bench ordered Centre
Meanwhile, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta also said not one life has been lost in the last few weeks. After hearing both sides, the bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and including Justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer, said, "We direct Centre to make every endeavor to make sure normal life returns. We ask for restoration to be on a selective basis."
Meanwhile, CJI Gogoi fumed after being told HC is "inaccessible"
The top court, today, took up several petitions pertaining to the prevailing situation of J&K. One such plea was filed by activist Enakshi Ganguly, who claimed children between six and 18 years are facing problems due to partial restrictions. On this, CJI Gogoi remarked that this matter is suited for the J&K High Court, only to get a response he wasn't prepared for.
I will go to J&K if needed, said CJI Gogoi
Interestingly, Ganguly's lawyer told the bench it was difficult to go to HC. CJI Gogoi promptly replied, "Why is it difficult to go to the Jammu and Kashmir HC? Is anyone coming in the way? We want to know from the (High Court) Chief Justice. If required, I will go to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court." A report has been sought from HC.