No loss of life, phone lines to be restored by weekend: Chief Secretary Subrahmanyam briefs media on Kashmir clampdown

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam on Friday said that phone connectivity will be gradually restored in most parts of the state by end of this week. He said schools will be opened area by area after the weekend and movement of public transport will also be made operational in the next few days. The government offices are functional from today. Telecom connectivity will be gradually eased and restored in a phased manner, he said in a press briefing. The Valley was put under curfew hours before the central government revoked Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Fearing backlash from the separatists and politicians, the government imposed a curfew, snapped communication lines and placed political leaders under house arrest. The chief secretary today said that the government acted to maintain law and order in the troubled state. In implementing the decision taken last fortnight, cross-border terrorism required the government to put in place certain preventing steps. The important factor was credible inputs that such organisations were planning to undertake strikes in Jammu and Kashmir in the immediate future. Steps, consequently taken, included restrictions on free movement and telecom connectivity prevention of large gathering, closure of schools and colleges. A few preventive detentions of individuals were also made in accordance with provisions of law to maintain law and order, Subrahmanyam said. He, however, said that 12 out of 22 districts were functioning normally with some limited restrictions in five districts. The measures put in place have ensured that there has not been a single loss of life, the top official added. Speaking on arrest and detentions of people, Subrahmanyam said that preventive detentions were being reviewed and appropriate decisions would be made based on law and order assessments. The governments focus is on the earliest return to normalcy while ensuring that terrorist forces are given no opportunity to wreak havoc as in the past, he said. Earlier in the day, the Centre informed Supreme Court that it was monitoring and reviewing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir on a daily basis and restrictions imposed in the Valley will be gradually eased in the coming days. The top court was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the Centres abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent restrictions imposed. Refusing to intervene in the matter, the top court advised petitioners to exercise patience and listed the matter for hearing after one week.