The Centre on Tuesday said that the curfew-like restrictions in Kashmir following the removal of Article 370 provisions would be removed from the Valley only after getting a nod from local authorities. According to a report by The Indian Express, a senior Home Ministry official said that they had to choose between the loss of lives and the inconvenience caused by the restrictions.
The MHA official said that the government learnt a lesson from what happened after the killing of Burhan Wani, who enjoyed support from a section of local Kashmiris and had taken up arms against the Indian Armed Forces.
“In 2016, following the killing of Burhan Wani, so many lives were lost due to unabated protests. Then restrictions were imposed which continued for months. This time we have taken preventive steps to minimise violence and loss of lives,” the official said.
Earlier in the day, Attorney General KK Venugopal had also echoed the MHA official in the Supreme Court and said that 44 lives were lost in 2016 street protests that followed the killing of three militants, including Burhan Wani.
In his argument against a petition filed before the top court against the restrictions imposed on the movement of people and politicians, the attorney general said that the clampdown in the Valley was ordered to avoid another Burhwan Wani type unrest.
The Supreme Court refused to pass any immediate directions to the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government on a plea seeking lifting of all restrictions imposed after the abrogation of most Article 370 provisions, which gave a significant autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra was hearing the petition filed by Congress activist Tehseen Poonawalla on the Centre's decision to impose restrictions and "other regressive measures" in Jammu and Kashmir following the revocation of the provisions of Article 370.
During the hearing, the bench also comprising Justices MR Shah and Ajay Rastogi, said the present situation in Jammu and Kashmir was "very sensitive" and sometime should be given for bringing back normalcy in the region.
The Narendra Modi government, in a muscular move, scrapped special status of Jammu and Kashmir by removing several clauses of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The government also said that it will support a Bill to divide the state into two Union Territories (UTs).
In anticipation of the announcement, that could triggered violence, the government had flooded the Valley with thousands of additional troops and severed all communication channels, including mobile and broadband internet. Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in the Valley and tourists were evacuated. Mainstream politicians, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah along with many others have been arrested and taken to unknown locations.