Article 370: Restrictions were imposed in Kashmir to avoid loss of lives, situation now stable, says S Jaishankar

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday said that before the withdrawal of Article 370 Jammu and Kashmir was in a mess while adding that the restrictions were imposed in the valley to avoid loss of lives and a repeat of 2016 when the Valley convulsed following militant Burhan Wani’s death.

Jaishankar said that the Indian government’s first concern was to ensure that there was no loss of lives due to violence and demonstrations in the region post abrogation of Article 370.

“Pre August 5 Kashmir was in a mess, difficulties in Kashmir did not start on August 5, it is supposed to be a way of dealing with those difficulties,” the minister said at Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA.

‘Senior police officers were lynched on streets of Srinagar: “As many as 42,000 people were killed in the last 30 years. Level of intimidation had reached a height where senior police officers were lynched on streets of Srinagar. Journalists who wrote against separatism were assassinated, military personnel returning home for Eid were kidnapped and killed. So, Pre August 5 Kashmir was in a mess. Difficulties in Kashmir did not start on August 5. It is supposed to be a way of dealing with those difficulties,” the minister underlined.

Situation in the region has now stabilised: Jaishankar said that the situation in the region has now stabilised and lots of restrictions have been rolled back including the operationalising of landlines and mobile towers and resumption of economic activity.

“Particular efforts are being made to keep the supplies normal in the state. This is a harvest season for apples. Efforts are being made to procure apples so that farmers do not get victimised by these changes,” he said.