'Sharp decline in stone pelting in J&K since August 5'

Sharp decline in stone pelting incidents in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5, 2019: Officials

Representative Image. Credit: PTI File Photo

Incidents of stone pelting have come down sharply in Jammu and Kashmir after abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state, officials said on Wednesday.

Comparing the figures of stone pelting incidents during the first six months of 2020 with previous years, they said the number has fallen down considerably from 944 in 2018 to 211 so far this year.

According to the officials, there has also been a reduction in injuries and deaths of security forces as well as civilians.

They said a heavy deployment of security forces helped instill confidence in the general public as many of the "trouble mongers" had been identified and packed to various jails ahead of or on August 5 last year when Article 370 of the Constitution was abrogated.

There was only one civilian death during the stone pelting incidents this year whereas the figure for 2018 was 18 and was three for 2019 during the first six months, according to the officials.

Similarly, there were 549 cases of injuries to civilians in 2018 during the first six months followed by 335 in 2019 and only 63 this year, the officials said, adding, the number of injuries to security forces have also come down sharply from 74 in 2018 to 14 this year.

The officials dismissed claims by some human rights groups that Jammu and Kashmir had been under a complete lockdown since August 5 last year.

They said after imposing prohibitory orders in the early hours of August 5 last year which included snapping communication links, landline phones were restored in phases beginning August 17 and a near complete relaxation was done the next day.

By the end of August, primary and middle schools were opened and relaxation on movement of people was allowed almost in every district.

In October, post-paid mobile phones were put in operation in the Kashmir valley and the block development council elections were held.

Recently, a report titled 'Kashmir Human Rights Report' prepared by a group of intellectuals including retired judges, ex-servicemen and former diplomats, had alleged blatant misuse of stringent laws like the Public Safety Act (PSA) and provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The report also alleged that local industries had suffered a lot after the developments that took place on August 5 last year.

However, the officials said the union territory administration had set up 400 internet kiosks and also started 2G mobile internet services by January this year.

The process of releasing political prisoners, detained since August 5, was initiated in March this year with the release of former chief ministers Farooq and Omar Abdullah.

Foreign delegations which included envoys from many nations including the US, the UK, France and Middle East and African countries visited the Kashmir valley where they were given a briefing on the situation in the valley. In certain cases, some of the envoys were driven through market places and shown around people walking and leading their daily lives, the officials said.

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