Indian top court issues notices to Modi govt


Article-370 abrogation, Kashmir press freedom
New Delhi

India’s Supreme Court said on Wednesday it would hear pleas challenging the Modi government order revoking the autonomy of occupied Kashmir in October, and allowed an opposition politician to visit the region that has been under lockdown for weeks.
India stripped Kashmir its special status this month, and also divided Jammu and Kashmir State into two, to the fury of many of its residents.
More than a dozen petitions have been filed in India’s Supreme Court questioning the legality the action, which New Delhi said was aimed at developing the region at the heart of animosity with Pakistan for decades.
On Wednesday, a panel of judges headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said the court would hear the petitions starting in the first week of October. “How the court decides these cases will have a deep bearing on the destiny of democracy in India,” Suhrith Parthasarathy, a Chennai-based lawyer, said in an article for the Hindu newspaper. The court also ordered the federal government to submit a response within seven days to a plea by Anuradha Bhasin, the editor of the daily Kashmir Times, who has sought a relaxation of a government ban on telephone and internet services in Kashmir since August 5.
Some landline telephone connections that were restored last week. India said the restrictions in occupied Kashmir were necessary to maintain law and order, but the Kashmiri people have expressed frustration and anger over the lockdown.
Hundreds of Kashmiris have been queued up outside a government office in Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar every day to make calls outside the region.