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India needs time to restore order in Kashmir: Supreme Court judge


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New Delhi/Islamabad (Reuters): Indian authorities need more time to restore order in Kashmir, a Supreme Court justice said on Tuesday as a security clampdown entered a ninth day since New Delhi revoked the region’s special status, triggering protests.

The court is hearing an activist’s petition seeking to lift curbs on communications and movement that have disrupted normal life and essential services in the Himalayan region.

Telephone lines, internet and television networks have been blocked since August 5 when India withdrew Jammu And Kashmir State’s right to frame its own laws and allowed non-residents to buy property there.

Restrictions on movement and assembly, including a ban on gatherings of more than four people, were tightly enforced on Tuesday in the region’s main city, Srinagar.

Menaka Guruswamy, a lawyer for the petitioner, said the court should move to restore hospital services and open schools.

“That is all I ask,” she told the Supreme Court in New Delhi.

Justice Arun Mishra said the government wanted to bring Kashmir back to normal as soon as possible.

“The situation is such that nobody knows what is going on. We should give them time to restore normalcy. Nobody can take one percent of chance,” Mishra said. “Who will be responsible if something really bad happens tomorrow?”

The petition also seeks the release of detained political leaders in Kashmir, among more than 300 people held to prevent widespread protests.

 


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