Govt Claims Normalcy in J&K, Data Says Otherwise

Amit Shah claims normalcy in Kashmir but the data presented by the government speaks something else.

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On 20 November 2019, Home Minister Amit Shah claimed in the Parliament that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is ‘normal’. He said that schools and hospitals are open, and newspapers and other businesses are all functional.

“Urdu and English newspapers and TV channels are functional. The circulation is similar to last year. All shops are open in the Valley. They shut at noon but reopen in the evening.”
Amit Shah, Home Minister

Is this Claim Correct?

A day before Amit Shah spoke in Parliament, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy, on 19 November, answered a few questions on Kashmir in the Lok Sabha.

He said that between 5 August-15 November 2019, 190 incidents of stone-pelting and law and order violation were recorded, and 765 people arrested. When Kishan Reddy was asked whether stone-pelting incidents have reduced, he said ‘yes’. But on what basis is he claiming so?

It is unclear from his data what the exact number of stone pelting cases and that of law and order violation is.  If we combine the two, the numbers have increased. According to Reddy, 361 cases of stone-pelting and law and order violation cases were registered between January to 4 August. It means on an average, 63 cases of stone-pelting in a month were registered between August to November and 51 cases were registered between January to July.

Kishan Reddy spoke about tourism too. He said that 34.10 lakh tourists visited J&K in the last six months, of which 12,934 are foreigners. The state earned Rs 25.12 crore from tourism. It seems like businesses in J&K did good, but Kashmir Chamber of Commerce (KCCI) claims that after abrogation of Article 370, Kashmir incurred a loss of Rs 12,000 crore. Businesses were hit as internet, phones and SMS services were shut down.

The home minister spoke about schools as well. He claimed that the schools were open and 99% of Class 12 students appeared for exams, but the Opposition says the students’ attendance is negligible, that 98% may have appeared for exams but attendance in schools and colleges is 0%-5%. The data have been provided by the government. Because of the blockade, a lot of data have not surfaced in public domain.

Troubles have continued from across the border too. As per a press release by the Home Ministry on 12 February 2019, there have been 2,140 attempts of ceasefire violation by Pakistan in J&K in 2018. There have been 950 attempts between August-October 2019, which means double number of attempts. And it is clear that such attacks does not let normalcy remain.

(This story was first published on Quint Hindi)

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