The police in Jammu and Kashmir confirmed today that there had been pellet injuries during what they called "stray protests" in Srinagar over the weekend, when security restrictions were eased. Earlier this week, Governor Satya Pal Malik had denied foreign media reports of largescale violence in Kashmir Valley over the government's decision to end special status to the state and split it into two union territories. A section of the foreign media even reported about the pellet injuries. Zeroing on the reports, the opposition Congress had demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi "come clean" on the matter.
Insisting that the law and order situation has been "totally under control", senior police officer Munir Khan today said: "There have been localised incidents in various parts of Srinagar and other areas, which have been contained, dealt with locally. There has been no major injury to anyone. There have been a few pellet injuries, who were treated and sent back."
He also assured that the administration's "biggest endeavour" is avoiding civilian causalities. "Whether it is a law and order situation or anti-military operation, we avoid collateral damage as we don't want it," he added.
While briefing the media, the state's principal secretary Rohit Kansal said the administration has allowed further relaxation in prohibitory orders "in a large number of areas including Srinagar", which will continue till this afternoon.
On Monday, Governor Satya Pal Malik issued a statement minutes after Congress's Rahul Gandhi said his party had stopped a crucial internal meeting to discuss Kashmir.
"Things are going very wrong there. There are reports of violence, of people dying... It is imperative that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the central government come clean on the matter," Mr Gandhi told reporters.
Later, news agency Press Trust of India quoted Mr Malik as saying: "The foreign press has made an attempt (of wrong reportage) and we have warned them. All hospitals are open for you and if even a single person has been hit by a bullet, prove it. But only four people were hit by pellets in legs when there was violence by youths and there were no serious injuries to anyone."
The government today said restrictions have been completely removed in Jammu though they will continue in parts of Kashmir "for some time". The home ministry had said yesterday that the restrictions will be removed in a phased manner depending on the ground situation and the local administration will take a call on the matter.
Mr Kansal today said, "On all other fronts -- civil supply, national highway, airport, medical facilities things continue to be normal. The local authorities as before are keeping a close watch on the situation and offering relaxation where the situation demands".
Jammu and Kashmir has been under an unprecedented security cover and prohibitory orders banning large gatherings since August 4 - a day before the government announced its big decisions on the state. Telephone and internet was blacked out and key mainstream politicians of Kashmir, including former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were placed under arrest.
The government yesterday said it was part of the preventive measures adopted to avoid any loss of lives.