Political leaders currently under detention in J&K will be released in due course as part of a phased withdrawal of restrictions in the Valley-based purely on the assessment of the ground situation by the local administration, a government functionary said on Thursday.
The functionary said, “As the situation improves in the Valley, restrictions are being eased day by day. Starting with an easing of curbs on free movement, the local administration has allowed shops and establishments to open, resumed schools and working of government offices, restored landlines to a large extent and now even started mobile services in Kupwara and Handwara districts. As and when the situation improves further, the local administration will decide on ending the detention of political leaders as well”.
He added that there were no “negotiations” between the central leadership and detained political leaders in J&K, though officers of the local administration or state agencies may be talking to them.
They are our own people,” the functionary said when asked if there was any engagement with the detained politicians to enlist their cooperation in maintaining peace in the Valley after they are released.
According to indications from Srinagar, the administration targets to release the leaders in the phrase, possibly within the next two weeks, depending on the ground situation.
Indications are that while restrictions, including the ban on mobile communication in the Valley, may be relaxed in the days to come, depending on the improving situation, the curbs on the mobile internet may continue for some time.
“Internet is a tool used by Pakistani elements to spread propaganda and instigate people by putting out videos of
protests in PoK and projecting them as having been shot in Kashmir post-abrogation of Article 370. Some of the messages from Pakistani propaganda machinery has reached as far as Nagaland,” the functionary said.
Meanwhile, the government has asked all central ministries and departments to identify initiatives that can be taken in J&K under their existing schemes and project. In the days to come, Union ministers will travel to the state one by one to review the situation and oversee welfare initiatives.
“An inter-ministerial group of officers will identify short-term and long-term initiatives to be taken by each ministry/ department in J&K, and the action plans will be approved and their implementation is overseen by the cabinet secretary,” said an official. The initiatives — which will be over and above the PM’s Rs 80,000 crore package — include a skill development push in J&K that will help generate 50,000 jobs.