National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Saturday said that he is “fully convinced” that a majority of Kashmiris support the abrogation of Article 370, and affirmed that restrictions in Kashmir are aimed at preventing Pakistan from creating more mischief through proxies and terrorists.
Except for a few miscreants, Doval said a majority of the Kashmiris see a good future, economic progress and employment opportunities after the revocation of Article 370.
In a wide-ranging interaction with media persons, the NSA said there was no question of Army atrocities as only the Jammu and Kashmir Police and some Central Forces were handling the public order. The Indian Army has been engaged in fighting terrorists, he asserted.
Doval said restrictions have been eased progressively, and only 10 of the 199 police districts in Kashmir, Jammu and Laddakh now still have prohibitory orders, while land-line telephones have been restored fully in all three areas.
NSA Ajit Doval further said that Pakistan was trying to create trouble in the Valley adding that 230 Pakistani terrorists have been spotted with some of them having infiltrated the Indian territory and some others arrested.
“If anybody is interested in restoring normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir it is India,” he said. “We will not allow people to become victims of Pakistan’s machinations and its bullets sent across the border. We will do everything in power to protect the people,” he added.
Doval said that communication between terrorists and their Pakistani handlers were intercepted in which they were reprimanded for not doing their job properly, and warned that Pakistan would send them bangles if they didn’t do anything quickly.
“There are Pakistani communication towers 20 km along the border, and they are trying to send messages. We heard intercepts that told their men ‘how so many apple trucks are moving, can’t you stop them? Should we send you bangles?’,” said Doval, referring to code words the terrorists use to request logistics and weapons from their handlers.
The NSA further said that terror is the only instrument Pakistan has to create unrest in Kashmir, adding that placing and removal of restrictions depend on “how Pakistan behaves”.
“It is a stimulant and response situation. If Pakistan starts behaving, terrorists don’t intimidate and infiltrate, if Islamabad stops sending signals through its towers to operatives, we can lift restrictions,” the NSA said.
Doval justified the restrictions on mobile phone and Internet services, saying they can easily be used by Pakistan and terrorists for subversive activities but the denial of these services should not prevent people from going about their lives. “Even before the Internet came into our lives people were going about their lives doing business,” he said.
92.5 per cent of the geographical area of Jammu and Kashmir is free of restrictions, he further said.
Jammu and Kashmir was put under virtual curfew on 5 August when the Modi government scrapped the Article 370 and split the state into two union territories.
Telephone line services, including mobile phones and landlines, were suspended in the early hours of August 5.
Earlier, J-K Governor Satya Pal Malik had justified the imposition of severe restrictions saying that it was done to prevent any loss of life.
“The medium of phone and internet is used less by us and mostly by terrorists and Pakistanis as well as for mobilisation and indoctrination. It is a kind of weapon used against us and so we have stopped it. Services will be resumed gradually,” he said.
On the two-year-old baby critically injured along with three other people in a terrorist attack in Danger Pora village of Jammu and Kashmir’s Sopore district on Saturday, Doval said that he has asked the authorities to shift the girl to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi for enhanced treatment.
Doval concluded that Pakistan is indulging in “false and black propaganda” and that some “uninformed people” are taking one or two incidents as public opinion, while he cited a few incidents of violence by militants in the Valley.
“Pakistan is trying to create a situation and then tell the international community that there is unrest,” he said.
A day after the Government revoked Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, NSA Ajit Doval was spotted chatting around and having lunch with the local residents of Shopian in Kashmir.
He stayed in the Valley for about 10 days and personally monitored the situation in the state as it was placed under curfew in the wake of the Government’s announcement.