Give govt time to restore normalcy in J&K as situation 'very sensitive': SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to pass any immediate direction to the Centre and the Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) government on a plea seeking lifting of all restrictions imposed after the abrogation of Article 370.

A three-judge Bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, hearing a petition filed by activist Tehseen Poonawalla, said it will wait for normalcy to return, and take up the matter after two weeks. The Bench said the situation was “very sensitive” and time should be given for bringing back normalcy in the region.

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sources said there was no plan of Home Minister Amit Shah visiting Kashmir for a flag-hoisting ceremony on August 15.

In Srinagar, the J&K administration said restrictions will be relaxed in a phased manner and political leaders released from “preventive detention” after an assessment by local authorities. “If the trade-off is between inconvenience and loss of life, if the trade-off is between peddling fake news leading to loss of life and people’s inconvenience, what should we choose?” an official said.

The MHA confirmed a protest in the Valley reported by some media outlets, but said no bullet was fired.

Diplomatic victories

New Delhi believed it scored a couple of diplomatic victories. India’s Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla said in Washington that the Trump Administration will encourage India and Pakistan to resolve their differences bilaterally.

According to a PTI report from Islamabad, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has asked his countrymen not to live in a ‘fool’s paradise’ as he highlighted that it will not be easy for Islamabad to get the support of the UN Security Council as well as from the Muslim world against India’s decision to withdraw J&K’s special status.

In an interview to The New York Times, Asad Majeed Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, said Pakistan might redeploy troops from the Afghanistan border to the Kashmir frontier, and the developments in J&K could complicate the ongoing peace talks between the US and the Taliban.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Pakistan is ‘nervous’.

Rahul Gandhi accepts Governor’s invitation

The Congress urged the Centre to initiate a political dialogue on J&K, convene an all-party meeting to take Opposition ‘into full confidence’ and release leaders of political parties. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accepted J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik’s ‘invitation’ to visit the state, but said he didn’t need an aircraft and that he and other Opposition leaders would visit. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said the armed forces are prepared to deal with any security challenge along the Line of Control in J&K.

Investor summit in October

The J&K administration officially announced a three-day global investors’ summit to be held in Srinagar from October 12. The meet will help allay fears of industry about investing in the state.

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