Addressing a press conference in Srinagar on Wednesday, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh, stated that the situation on ground in the state was close to normalcy. He was responding to a specific question about the lack of normalcy despite there being peace in the region. Singh maintained that if the entire state was taken into consideration, all 10 districts of Jammu had become absolutely normal. He mentioned that all schools and colleges were re-opened.
Informing that all offices had been opened, he revealed that people were doing their daily jobs without any problem. Recalling his Tuesday’s visit to Leh and Kargil, he said that totally normal life was being seen there. Singh stated that there was absolutely no restriction of any kind in that area. He opined that the restrictions would be gradually eased off in the other areas as well.
‘’Today, you have got 90% area which is free of any restrictions. You have got 100% telephone exchanges working now. You have got two districts where the cellphone is also working now. We are considering more such relaxations. People have been extremely co-operative. Communication is a two-way kind of thing. You can use it for good as well as bad purposes,’’ the J&K DGP said.
Singh said that the previous experience of the authorities had been that elements sponsored by Pakistan made very malicious use of social media platforms. According to him, certain restrictions were imposed with the intention to prevent this malicious propaganda. Singh admitted that the authorities were conscious that the restrictions were causing inconvenience to people.
Singh stated, ‘’But, I would say that security and safety are equally important. Life is equally important. So, therefore, if some restriction is there, we are able to prevent loss of life and property here. We are also able to prevent any major law and order breakout here. We are thinking of relaxing the restrictions further.’’
The Presidential order combined with effective legislation passed in both Houses of Parliament ensured the revocation of special status to J&K. Furthermore, the state was bifurcated into J&K and Ladakh, both gaining the status of Union Territories. Subsequently, mainstream political leaders in the state including Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were detained and network restrictions were imposed as well. However, the government has been gradually relaxing these restrictions in the last few days.