In a breaking development, sources said that schools, colleges and government offices in Kashmir will re-open from Monday. However, a final decision will be taken only after the Friday prayers are conducted in the Valley. Sources also said that although people want communication blockage to be removed but government wants to ensure that Pakistan's rumour-mongering does not affect the lives of Kashmiris. The official decision on the same is still awaited, however, sources confirmed that the local administration has given a report to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The report expresses readiness and preparedness to resume government offices, banks and other important institutions including schools and colleges.
Just minutes earlier, the Supreme Court had refused to pass any orders on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir after hearing the petitions posing legal challenges to the Centre’s decision to scrap provisions of Article 370 which abrogated special status to Jammu and Kashmir and subsequent measures putting restrictions on the working of media in the region.
A special bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer, heard the petitions filed by advocate ML Sharma and Executive Editor, Kashmir Times, Anuradha Bhasin. While the advocate challenged the scrapping of provisions of Article 370 which has resulted in the creation of two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the journalist sought directions for restoring of all modes of communication, including mobile Internet and landline services, throughout the state to provide an enabling environment for the media to practise its profession.
The top court asked the petitioners to give some time to the Centre to tackle the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Attorney General KK Venugopal assured the court that decision regarding lifting of the communication restrictions will be told to the Supreme Court on the next date. The Supreme Court special bench will take up the matter on the administrative side and the matter was adjourned.
The Home Ministry has called upon a delegation from international media asking them to show unedited version of the videos they had played to prove that they weren't doctored. International broadcasting houses BBC and Al Jazeera have claimed unrest and use of force in Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370. Now, the delegation of both broadcasting houses are going to meet the govt representatives this week with unedited videos which they had aired, sources said. They had sort some time to present the original video, sources added.
MHA has also increased its periphery from Twitter to other social networks, sources said. As per inputs received by Republic, URLS of handles peddling fake news are to be banned - sources also said that 38 such URL hosting anti national content are to be banned. While investigating and curbing fake news propaganda, the MHA also found that a dozen of such portals are been run from overseas. The process of the same that is MHA will tell Information and Broadcast ministry to act on it and take relevant steps.
The Narendra Modi government on August 5 abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories namely Jammu Kashmir and Ladhakh. With the Article 370 no longer existing, the special status thus provided to the state of Jammu and Kashmir ended making it a major day in the history marking the integration of the state with the rest of India.