Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh yesterday said the region was very close to normalcy, with restrictions almost lifted from most of the districts.
“We are very close to normalcy. If you take the entire state into account, all 10 districts of Jammu have become absolutely normal. All schools, colleges and offices are open. People are doing their jobs without any problem,” he said at a press briefing after a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant was killed in a shootout with police in the morning.
The DGP said that the situation in Leh and Kargil districts were also normal.
“I have visited Leh and Kargil. Total normal life is being seen there. There is absolutely no restriction there. In those regions also we have been gradually trying to ease out the restrictions whichever were imposed.”
Earlier, the LeT militant identified as Asif Maqbool Bhat was killed by security forces.
Bhatt “hurled a grenade at the police team in Sopore region. He was killed in retaliation,” senior police official Munir Khan said.
Tensions have heightened in Kashmir since New Delhi stripped it of its autonomy on August 5.
India also sent thousands of extra troops to reinforce the 500,000 already there, detained almost all the region’s politicians, severely restricted movement and cut landlines, mobile phones and the Internet.
Some restrictions have since been eased.
Bhatt is believed to have been involved in the recent attack of family members of a local apple trader - a mainstay of the local economy - who India says have been put under pressure by militants not to send their fruit elsewhere in India.
Hundreds of apple trucks have been moving out of Sopore, 45km from Srinagar, to deliver their produce to the rest of the country in what authorities hail as a sign of normalcy.
LeT claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Kashmir in February that killed 40 troops, and has been accused by India and the United States of carrying out attacks in Mumbai in 2008 that killed 160 people.
Last week senior army officer Lieutenant General Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon said two “terrorists” had been arrested in Kashmir.
UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Monday she was “deeply concerned about the impact of recent actions by the government of India on the human rights of Kashmiris”.
National Security Adviser Ajit Doval said on Saturday that a “majority” of Kashmiris supported its move except for a “vocal minority.”
Also yesterday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appealed to both India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue through bilateral dialogue.
The UN chief met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G7 Summit last month in Biarritz in France, and has also spoken to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
On September 9, Guterres also met Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, after a request came from her for a meeting.
“His message to all of them has been the same, both publicly and privately, that he remains very concerned about any potential escalation between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir situation. He appeals to both sides to deal with the issue through dialogue,” the UN chief’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.
He further added, “You know, our position on mediation has, as a matter of principle, always remained the same.”
India’s stated policy has been that the Kashmir issue is an internal matter and there is no need for a third-party mediation.
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