Union home minister Amit Shah met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and the chief of the Intelligence Bureau this afternoon to discuss the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where restrictions are being removed in phases. Mr Doval has recently returned from Kashmir after an 11-day visit, during which he met the locals and the security forces to get a feel of the ground situation in the valley.
Visuals of Mr Doval having lunch with locals at an undisclosed locality were circulated in the media. He was heard saying in the video that once the new administration is set up, things will change.
Jammu and Kashmir was placed under a huge security blanket more than two weeks ago, ahead of the government's announcement about the removal of the state's special status and plans to bifurcate it into two Union Territories.
The government has called it a preventive measure, meant to contain any backlash that might lead to loss of life and property. Their removal will be conducted by the local administration, depending on the ground situation.
Today, a section of schools and all government offices opened in Srinagar but attendance was thin. Officials claim two-thirds landlines have been restored in the Kashmir Valley and mobile internet services will be back after a review of the security situation.
But hundreds of politicians, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who were arrested, remain in custody. Prohibitory orders banning large gatherings are still on in many places.
The matter is now in the Supreme Court, where six petitions are pending.
Last week, in response to a petition requesting an immediate end to the lockdown, the court said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was "sensitive" and one must rely on the government.
"We expect normalcy. But nothing can be done overnight. Nobody knows what's happening. One has to rely on the government... It is a sensitive issue," the court said, adjourning the case for two weeks.
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