Modi vows no immediate respite for besieged Kashmiris


New Delhi
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said it would take four months for Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir to return to normal after his government revoked the disputed territory’s special status in August and imposed harsh restrictions.
At a rally in the western state of Maharashtra, Modi said that his government had taken the necessary steps to maintain security in Indian occupied Kashmir.
Alongside the withdrawal on August 5 of constitutional provisions that gave Indian Occupied Kashmir special autonomy, Modi’s government flooded the region with additional troops and imposed curfew-like restrictions to keep a lid on protests. Months after the move, mobile telephone and internet connections in the occupied valley, home to around seven million people, remain cut off.
Some mobile phone connections are set to be restored on Monday, the Indian government said on Saturday.”I assure you that it won’t take more than 4 months to normalise the abnormal situation that has persisted there for 40 years,” Modi said at the rally, speaking in Hindi.
“[Occupied] Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh aren’t just a piece of land for us,” Modi said, referring to the remote Buddhist enclave that borders China.
New Delhi insists that its move in August was essential to integrate IOK fully into India and bring development to the disputed Himalayan region, but there are anger and discontent among many locals over the decision.
Despite the curbs, Kashmiris have come out on to the streets, and many shops and other commercial establishments in the Kashmir valley have remained mostly shuttered in protests against the withdrawal of the special status.
Last week, Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir state government published full-page advertisements in local newspapers asking people to resume normal life, including reopening businesses and sending children to schools. — Reuters

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