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Supreme Court orders India to restore normalcy in Kashmir

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India’s Supreme Court on Monday directed the federal government to make efforts to restore normal life in India-administered Kashmir which has seen a security lockdown and communications blackout in recent weeks.Supreme Court, APC, Zamfara

India last month stripped the Muslim-majority region of a special autonomous status as well as imposing restrictions on the movement and gathering of people.

Thousands of troops were deployed to prevent any backlash.

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The clampdown has been lifted in most regions but is still in place in many areas of the Kashmir valley which has a population of 7 million.

“We direct the Jammu and Kashmir region to make every endeavour to make sure normal life returns,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, according to broadcaster NDTV.

“We ask for restoration to be on a selective basis keeping in mind national interest,” the judges added.

The judges were hearing petitions filed by Kashmir Times newspaper editor Anuradha Bhasin and political analyst Tehseen Poonawalla challenging the lockdown.

Bhasin contended that the crackdown had restricted the media in the state.

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Mobile and internet services continue to be blocked in the region even though the government says landline phones have been made operational.

Schools have opened but there is little attendance with parents worried about safety, with public transport remaining suspended in the region.

Hundreds of political leaders and activists remain in detention with the month-long clampdown also seeing the deaths of five civilians, including an 18-year-old protester during clashes with security forces. 

Vanguard

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