A 100-member delegation of Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Association on Tuesday met Union Home Minister Amit Shah as the lockdown in the Valley following removal of several provisions of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories (UTs) nears a month.
This is the first meeting of Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Association members with the home minister after the Article 370 move. The members of the delegation apprised Shah of the prevailing situation in the Valley.
Although the details of the meeting has not been divulged by the government, sources said that it was an effort to build confidence among locals and village heads are key to that. According to some reports, the government is also planning to make village heads a direct participant in the development of the villages of the Valley.
Kashmir is under military lockdown since August 4 when the Centre announced to break the state into two parts and remove the provisions of Article 370 that gave the state a significant autonomy for decades. Political leaders, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were put under house arrest and curfew like restrictions were imposed in wake of violent protests.
Meanwhile, referring to stone-pelting incidents, Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal, who is also the state government spokesperson, claimed that a total of 152 "significant incidents" have been witnessed in the past three weeks out of which 125 were in Srinagar alone.
Briefing reporters about the prevailing situation, he said 93 per cent of the state was free from any daytime restrictions. “Out of 111 police stations and daytime restrictions have been fully lifted in 92 police station areas out of them, which makes about 90 per cent of the valley restrictions-free,” he said.
Kansal said landline telephone services have been restored in 76 exchanges out of the total of 95 and the mobile phones are working in the regions of Jammu and Ladakh. The officials said barricades have been removed from most areas of the valley, but deployment of security forces continued on the ground to maintain law and order.