Updated: September 7, 2019 7:45:12 pm
National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval Saturday said that he is “fully convinced” that a majority of Kashmiris support the abrogation of Article 370, and affirmed that restrictions in Kashmir are aimed at preventing Pakistan from creating more mischief through proxies and terrorists, reported PTI. He also said that at least 92.5 per cent of the geographical area of Jammu and Kashmir is free of restrictions.
In a wide-ranging interaction with a select group of journalists, Doval said, “In the removal of Article 370, announced on August 5, “they (Kashmiris) see greater opportunities, a better future, more jobs for youths. There is a vocal minority that opposes it. It appears to people that that is the voice of the people. That is not necessarily true.”
Doval added that “Article 370 “was not a special status. It was special discrimination. With its abrogation, we have brought Kashmiris at par with Indians.”
On the situation in the Valley, Doval said landline connections are fully operational in the state and restrictions eased. “Restrictions have anyway been eased progressively, and only 10 of the 199 police districts in Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh now still have prohibitory orders, while land-line telephones have been restored fully in all three areas.”
Talking about the detention of political leaders in the state, Doval said that none of them have been charged with criminal offence or sedition. “Everything is done according to the framework of law, they can challenge their detention in Court. They are in preventive custody till environment is created for democracy to function, which I believe may happen soon,” Doval said, adding that there could have been problems in maintaining law and order in case there were gatherings and terrorists would have used the situation.
He blamed Pakistan for fomenting unrest in Kashmir, and said that in a bid to achieve that aim, Pakistan has sent many terrorists into Kashmir with the intent of causing trouble, and to ensure that normalcy is not restored.
“If anybody is interested in restoring normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir it is India,” he said. “We will not allow people to become victims of Pakistan’s machinations and its bullets sent across the border. We will do everything in power to protect the people,” he added.
Asked what India will do if Pakistan continues with its ways, Doval said, “There is a solution to every problem.” He did not elaborate.
Questioned about the alleged human rights abuses by the Army, Doval pointed out that it is only the local police and central paramilitary forces that are deployed to maintain law and order. So, there is no question of atrocities by the Army, whose job is only to fight terrorists.
Accusing Pakistan of trying to create trouble in the Valley, Doval said, “230 Pakistani terrorists were spotted, some of them have infiltrated, some arrested. We are determined to protect the life of Kashmiris from Pakistani terrorists even if we have to impose restrictions. Terror is the only instrument Pakistan uses to create unrest.”
He cited the case of two Punjabi-speaking terrorists whose conversations with their Pakistani handlers were intercepted in which they were reprimanded for not doing their job properly, and warned that Pakistan would send them bangles if they didn’t do something quickly.
Thereafter, the two men went to the residence of a prominent fruit merchant in Sopore, Hamidullah Rather, to intimidate him on Friday, Not finding him there at home, the terrorists shot and injured his 25-year-old son, Mohammad Irshad, in the thigh, and Irshad’s 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter Asma Jaan, who is critical, Doval said. She will be brought to New Delhi for treatment, he said.
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