JK detentions: Govt counters Cong with Emergency arrest

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy speaks in the Rajya Sabha during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Wednesday. (RSTV/PTI Photo)

Insisting that "total normalcy" prevails in Jammu and Kashmir, the government on Wednesday targeted Congress for questioning detentions of political leaders, saying the latter had arrested 33 MPs during Emergency to "save one person's chair" while it was taking actions to protect interests of the country.

Responding to questions in Rajya Sabha Home Minister Amit Shah said there is "total normalcy" in Kashmir with government offices and educational institutions functioning fully while asserting that not a single person has died in police firing since August 5 after the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was revoked although many feared there would be bloodshed in the Valley.

To a question by DMK's Tiruchi Siva on whether the government would release National Conference patriarch and Lok Sabha MP Farooq Abdullah to enable him to attend ongoing Parliament session, Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy launched an attack on Congress.

"Various people were arrested at different times to protect country's interest. One should remember that during Emergency, you arrested 33 MPs to save one person's chair ... We are working in the interest of the nation and its law and order," he said.

Reddy said there is a false propaganda about Jammu and Kashmir's situation. "Only 609 people were behind bars, 151 more from the 458 figure of 2018. Normal situation will be restored shortly. On August 5, 5161 preventive arrests were made including stone pelters, separatists and some political leaders. We have released many. Advisory Board is being constituted. We will review it time to time and release people," he said.

To a separate question, Shah said prohibitory orders under Section 144 are in place prevalent only in certain areas from 8 pm to 6 am in the valley and during nights, there is no reason for a large number of people to gather at any place.

On restoring internet, he said an appropriate decision will be taken on the recommendation of the local administration.

"Neighbouring country (Pakistan) is still doing mischief and we will restore the connection as soon as the local administration says it is fit to do so. Internet is important in the present day world and it should be restored as early as possible. It is an effective means of communication. When it comes to the security of Jammu and Kashmir and for waging war against terrorism, we have to fix our priorities," he said.

Asked how much more time would be needed to bring normalcyhe said falsehood is being spread about the situation. "There is total normalcy prevailing. After August 5, not a single person has died in police firing although many feared there would be bloodshed and more number of killings," he said.

He said stone pelting incidents have come down to 544 so far in 2019 from 802 incidents in 2018, he said.

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